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2014 Edwards Psychology Lectures: The Science of Decision Making

Edwards Lectures 2014SAVE THE DATES for the 9th annual Allen L. Edwards Psychology Lecture Series!

Join us for our 9th annual series as we explore the science of decision making. This popular series brings notable psychologists to the University of Washington to co-present with faculty from the UW Department of Psychology. This public lecture series is made possible by a generous endowment by Professor Allen L. Edwards, who was affiliated with the University of Washington Psychology Department from his arrival in 1944 as an Associate Professor to his death in 1994. 

This year's series will explore The Science of Decision Making. Our three featured UW faculty include: Chantel Prat (Feb. 19), Jeansok Kim (Feb. 26), and Susan Joslyn (Mar. 5). Together they will reveal how the brain and an individual's expectations bias the decisions that we make in uncertain conditions. 

Online registration will open on January 7, 2014 at We hope to see you there!


Chantel Prat, Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Washington

Randall O’Reilly, Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder

February 19, 2014, 7-9pm, Kane Hall Room 130

The Neuroscience of Good Decision Making

Photo: Chantel Prat
Photo: Chantel Prat
Photo: Randall O’Reilly
Photo: Randall O’Reilly

Decision making is pervasive in everyday life, and individuals vary widely in their ability to use the information available to them to make good decisions. Drs. Randall O'Reilly and Chantel Prat will discuss such individual differences in decision making, with an emphasis on how various brain regions contribute to good decision making. 


February 26, 2014, 7-9pm, Kane Hall Room 130

How the Brain Makes Decisions under Uncertainty

Photo: Jeansok Kim
Photo: Jeansok Kim
Photo: John O’Doherty
Photo: John O’Doherty

Jeansok Kim, Professor of Psychology, University of Washington

John O’Doherty, Professor of Psychology, California Institute of Technology

In order to make decisions about what action to take in uncertain situations the brain needs to be able to make estimates about the future consequences of taking particular actions, and work out which is the best course of action to take in any given situation. Drs. Kim and O’Doherty will discuss how the rodent and human brains are capable of working out the “risk” and “value” of possible outcomes over the course of trial-and-error experience, and how that information subsequently gets used at the point of decision-making. Uncovering how it is that the brain makes decisions is important not only for gaining a better appreciation of what makes us tick as human beings, but also can ultimately help us to understand better what happens when people sometimes make poor decisions, such as when suffering from psychiatric illness.

March 5, 2014, 7-9pm, Kane Hall Room 130

Communicating, Understanding and Using Uncertainty Information in Everyday Decisions

Photo: Susan Joslyn
Photo: Susan Joslyn
Photo: David Budescu
Photo: David Budescu

Susan Joslyn, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Washington

David Budescu, Anne Anastasi Professor of Psychometrics and Quantitative Psychology, Fordham University

Each of us makes important decisions involving uncertainty in domains in which we are not experts, such as retirement planning, medical treatment, precautions against severe weather and climate change. We often have access to information about the relevant uncertainty that in some cases is provided by experts. These lectures will describe research that explores what people understand about uncertainty in decision making, how effectively they incorporate it into the decision process and implications for how best to communicate uncertainty information to non-expert decision makers.

Thank you to our supporters!

We are pleased to recognize the following for their much appreciated contributions during the period of May 15, 20013 to November 7, 2013. Their gifts help strengthen our Department and support a wide range of important research and instructional work by our current students and faculty as well as recruitment of the very best new faculty and graduate students. Please let us know if we have accidentally omitted or misspelled your name by contacting the Psychology Advancement Office.

Join us in making a difference for the Psychology Department. Make a gift today!

Individual Donors

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Corporations and Foundations

AARP | Behavioral Tech, LLC | Brockman, Inc. | Cadence Child & Adolescent Therapy | Mondelez International Foundation | Project Implicit, Inc. | Schwab Fund for Charitable Giving | The Gottman Institute, Inc.

Estate and Memorial Gifts

Estate of Allen L. Edwards | Estate of Robert C. Bolles | In memory of G. Alan Marlatt