autumn 2023
HEL-8046 Judgement and Decision Making - 6 ECTS

Type of course

PhD course. This course is available as a singular course.

Admission requirements

PhD students and students at the Student Research Programme, or holders of a Norwegian master´s degree of five years or 3+2 years (or equivalent) may be admitted.

External applicants apply for the right to study by June 1st for courses that are taught in the autumn semester. Application is sent through SøknadsWeb. Please use the appliction code "9301 - Singular courses at the PhD level". If granted admission to the course students must register for class and exam in Studentweb by September 1st for autumn semester.

Course content

The course offers a theoretical framework for critical reflections of issues related to human decision-making under uncertainty, theories of decisionmaking, expert judgement, and ecological rationality. The role of emotions and biases will also be taught.

The course on human judgement and decision making is a fundamental course for all PhD candidates studying and researching how human behave. We are not homo economicus but driven by emotions and cognitive illusions which have high adaptive value in most environments humans encountered so far. A deeper understanding of human information processing will allow the PhD candidate to see the limits but also opportunities to educate for wisdom and make better decisions.

Objectives of the course

The PhD candidate should be able to differentiate between different types of uncertainties, which cognitive tools we have to cope with them and on which cognitive mechanism these are based. This will lead to an understanding of how we make decisions, and how knowledge is acquired, maintained and deepened (expertise).

Knowledge and understanding

PhD candidates are expected to evaluate

1) which factors influence how we reason in complex decision making

2) how perspectives and theories from different scientific disciplines (behavioral economics, ethology, psychology) view decision-making

3) the relationship between intelligence, rationality, and cognitive biases

4) the difference between expected (risk) and unexpected uncertainty

Skills and competences

PhD candidates are expected to

1) compare heuristics and cognitive biases on the basis of their evolutionary and ecological value

2) assess advantages and disadvantages of nudging and boosting

3) assess on the pro’s and con’s of group decision-making

4) estimate the role of motivation and emotion in decision-making

General Proficiency

PhD candidates are expected to

1) obtain proficiency about how professional knowledge and real-world experience interact to become an expert

2) formulate and compare the difference between reducible and irreducible uncertainty, i.e. when information sampling can reduce uncertainty

3) defend why knowledge about motivation, emotion and group processes is of vital importance to understand decision-makers

4) appreciate the limits but also strengths of human reasoning (creativity in problem solving, inductive-abductive-deductive reasoning).

Language of instruction and examination


Teaching methods

5-7 Lectures followed by seminars and group work, work requirement is to present one case in one of the seminars.

Lecture topics:

  • Expert decision making and the description - experience gap
  • Expected and unexpected uncertainties
  • Risk communication: the role of frequencies vs probabilities
  • Heuristics and biases: the good, the bad and the ugly (or on nudging and boosting)
  • Deliberate reasoning, cognitive effort and information sampling
  • The role of emotions on decision-making
  • Group decision-making: Wisdom of the crowds


Examination: Date: Grade scale:
Off campus exam 08.09.2023 09:00 (Hand out)
22.09.2023 14:00 (Hand in)
Passed / Not Passed

Coursework requirements:

To take an examination, the student must have passed the following coursework requirements:

Analyze a case Approved – not approved
UiT Exams homepage

Re-sit examination

Re-sit exam is not offered.
  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 6
  • Course code: HEL-8046