MLD-305: Emotional Influences on Decision Making: Bias and Benefit

Semester: Not Offered

Credit: 1.0

Faculty: Jennifer Lerner


Day Time Location
First Day
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Students will gain knowledge of how to improve their own decisions as well as how to design policies that create the making of optimal decisions in public and private organizations. The seminar covers the classic and contemporary (scholarly) debates concerning emotional influences on decision making. It begins with brief background on research methods and on fundamental principles of emotion processes. It goes on to consider such questions as: (a) How does one define a good decision?; (b) Do positive emotions improve decisions?; (c) Do negative emotions degrade decisions?; (d) How can managers create "nudges" to promote optional decision environments? (e) Should managers try to be "unemotional" when making decisions? Seminar participants will gain in-depth knowledge of these topics, rather than surface knowledge of the field as a whole. This course is intended for students in the Harvard Kennedy School master's degree programs as well as for students in any doctoral program at Harvard University. By written permission of Dr. Lerner, advanced undergraduates in psychology may enroll. Standard preparation for this seminar includes prior course work in psychology, economics, and statistics. Optimal preparation includes the course work described above as well as having taken MLD-304, "Science of Behavior Change: Judgment and Decision Making." Participants without the backgrounds described above should have a willingness to do supplemental reading. In sum, other than graduate-student status at Harvard, there are no formal prerequisites.

Not offered in 2013-14.