How You Decide: The Science of Human Decision Making

Join an award-winning professor and discover the surprising results from the field of decision science to learn how to make better decisions in all aspects of life.
How You Decide: The Science of Human Decision Making is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 24.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Informative and Useful This course was fun, enlightening and useful. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Date published: 2020-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Easy to watch and listen. There is a tremendous amount of useful "stuff" in this course. Understanding why we and others do what we do is largely revealed here. The prof has an easy to absorb style with lots of relevant examples.
Date published: 2020-09-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beyond Roberto Course Especially liked the weighted factor technique. I wish I could absorb and apply all he said.
Date published: 2020-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course! I really enjoyed this course! Very funny and very useful in every day life.
Date published: 2020-01-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Decision to Buy this Course I was looking for a course in how to make good decisions, the parameters to consider, the pros and cons of each choice, the benefits and risks. Dr. Hamilton's course, to me, is essentially a graduate level discussion of the human brain's processes when confronted with making a decision. His examples are very good, but much time is spent on how psychology affects our decisions. He gives many references to studies that have been done, who the audience was, and why particular outcomes resulted the way they did. We have not completed the lessons yet, but I do not believe this is the right course for what we were looking for. The speaker Dr. Ryan Hamilton delivers the material in a clear manner, is easy to understand, and would appeal to many customers who order this course. One point to make to TGC staff: too many courses use the 2-camera technique which forces the lecturer to pace left and right while presenting the subject matter. This can be distracting, using just one camera would avoid this.
Date published: 2019-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Completely Fascinating and Beautifully Taught! Why are there only 16 reviews??? - People, take this course! My full title for this review, had there been enough room, would have been "Completely Fascinating, Beautifully Taught, and Important for All!" And I mean it. I will not rehearse the course contents - do read through the details in the full description. The topics covered apply to all of us, everyday, and are often important and sometimes essential in determining our choices and our life's course. We like to think of ourselves as rational animals, but an enormity of recent psychological research has pretty definitively laid that conceit to rest, and it is this research, in all its fascinating variety and sometimes mind-bending conclusions, that make up "How You Decide." (Our professor very nicely gives credit to many of these researchers, particularly to the two giants who pretty much got the field going, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. I have to admit I have been trying to get through Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" for some time. It's brilliant but dense. This course is a lot more fun.) And - Professor Hamilton is one of the finest teachers I have encountered anywhere. He speaks simply yet eloquently in a well-modulated, conversational voice which is a pleasure to listen to. He actually doesn't sound as if he is reading, but the excellent organization and clarity of his material make this pretty nigh impossible. And there are (almost) no irrelevant digressions. Further, our professor's breadth of knowledge and his ability to convey that knowledge with enthusiasm (but not too much enthusiasm!) adds to the listener's ability to stay attentive and to learn. And I appreciated the brief but focused summaries at the close of each lecture. The only negative I can think of is that I could occasionally imagine a rational explanation for phenomena which the researchers consider irrational, and I wish those points had been brought up and discussed. Just one small example: If a product was sold with a free but useless "bonus", such as a commemorative plate with the name of the company on it, it actually lost market share compared to the same product without the plate. This seems irrational: Why would you not purchase the exact same product when you get something free, even if useless, in addition? But I think this might be explained if the consumer is thereby led to believe that the product is not doing well, possibly because of poor quality relative to the competition. Why else might the company feel the need to add the freebie? I wish that more potentially rational alternative explanations such as this had been addressed. But this is truly a small point. I enjoyed the video, but the course could, I think, be equally well appreciated in the audio format. And the Course Guidebook is well done and complete. So - an outstanding course. Fascinating, remarkably well-taught, and very worthwhile for everyone. Really! Being aware of this material might actually help us act more rationally (and resist marketers!). - My highest recommendation for all.
Date published: 2019-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How you decide I thought it was a bunch of mathematical formulas to predict how we make decisions.
Date published: 2019-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best It is hard for me to come up with suggestions to make this course better. The content was rich, comprehensive scholarly and to-the-point, and presentation by the professor very smooth and friendly and easy to listen to. More course by professor Hamilton please!
Date published: 2018-11-01
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Scientists have spent centuries trying to discern how humans make choices. This course looks at the cutting-edge research revealed via the scientific method to understand and explain the human decision making process. You'll better understand the choices you face every day, the tools you can use to make the best decisions for your personal goals, and how to most effectively influence the decisions of others.


Ryan Hamilton
Ryan Hamilton

Marketing is the process of facilitating exchanges that create value for customers, collaborators, and the company. And marketing creates this value by developing an understanding of what customers want and need.


Emory University, Goizueta Business School

Professor Ryan Hamilton is an Associate Professor of Marketing at Emory University's Goizueta Business School, where he has taught since 2008. He received his Ph.D. in Marketing from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

In 2013, he was recognized by the Marketing Science Institute as one of the most productive young scholars in his field. Professor Hamilton also has received multiple teaching excellence awards from his M.B.A. students at Emory and, in 2011, was named one of "The World's Best 40 B-School Profs under the Age of 40" by Poets & Quants, an online magazine covering the world of M.B.A. education.

Professor Hamilton is a consumer psychologist whose research investigates shopper decision making: how brands, prices, and choice architecture influence decision making at the point of purchase. His research findings have been published in prestigious peer-reviewed marketing and management journals, including the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Marketing, Management Science, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. His findings also have been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Financial Times, CNN Headline News and more.

By This Professor

How You Decide: The Science of Human Decision Making


Thinking Scientifically about Decisions

01: Thinking Scientifically about Decisions

Have you ever wondered why people make the decisions they do? Using the metaphor of manufacturing, learn what science has revealed about human decision making: informational raw materials go in, the cognitive machinery processes, control mechanisms guide the machinery, and a decision is made....

31 min
The Two-System Model of Decision Making

02: The Two-System Model of Decision Making

What's going on in your cognitive machinery as you manufacture your decision? Delve into the two-system model of decision making: System 1 is your automatic and intuitive processor, your earlier system from an evolutionary perspective; and System 2 is the flexible, powerful serial processor that you think of as you....

30 min
The Role of Heuristics in Decisions

03: The Role of Heuristics in Decisions

Heuristics are the decision shortcuts that people use every day. While too imprecise to lead to optimal decisions, they are powerful tools that allow you to make appropriate decisions fairly easily. However, if you don't understand the limitations of heuristics, they can easily lead you astray from the truth into stereotyping and assumptions....

30 min
How Habits Make Decisions Easier

04: How Habits Make Decisions Easier

Habits are our immediate automatic responses-good and bad-to situations when we don't take the time to manufacture a purposeful decision. Decision science gives us the psychological framework within which to understand how habits form and are activated, and how best to change them when we want to....

28 min
Self-Regulation and Choice

05: Self-Regulation and Choice

Have you ever felt that your mind was so overworked you just could not make one more decision? Learn about the "cognitive fuel" needed for System 2 to rein in the automatic responses of System 1, and figure out how to recognize when you really are too resource-depleted to make your best decisions....

30 min
The Value Curve and Human Decisions

06: The Value Curve and Human Decisions

Prospect Theory reveals the ways in which our decision-making machinery values an item and why. Learn how to make better decisions by understanding appropriate reference points, sensitivity to changes in value, and the super-sensitivity we all experience when it comes to potential loss....

29 min
Emotional Influences on Decision Making

07: Emotional Influences on Decision Making

Have you ever driven a bit recklessly when you felt angry or frustrated? If so, you know that emotions affect our decisions. Recently, scientists have discovered that our emotions play an even larger role than previously thought; in fact, they are an integral and necessary part of our cognitive machinery....

30 min
How Goals Guide Our Decisions

08: How Goals Guide Our Decisions

Can you influence the cognitive machinery that manufactures your decisions? Absolutely. Learn why and how our goals motivate us, which goals inspire our greatest effort, and how best to motivate others to help them meet their own goals-whether it's your sales team at work or your children at home....

31 min
Reason-Based Choice

09: Reason-Based Choice

Even when manufacturing the seemingly simplest of decisions, our control panel can steer us in the wrong direction. Learn why our cognitive machinery often over-weights attributes, considers information that really has no bearing on the decision at hand, and sometimes makes short-term evaluations that won't serve us well later....

29 min
Mental Accounting as a Factor in Decisions

10: Mental Accounting as a Factor in Decisions

Mental accounting is a powerful decision-making tool we can employ to improve our lives. Learn how the process of partitioning objects and experiences in purposeful ways-everything from money and food to debt and social obligations-can increase happiness, decrease pain, and lead to better physical and emotional health....

31 min
The Role of Mindsets in Decision Making

11: The Role of Mindsets in Decision Making

We don't make decisions in a vacuum. Before we even have the opportunity to decide our next action, before a stimulus even comes our way, we are mentally prepared to receive it. Our mindset, that stage of mental preparation, significantly affects how we perceive and process information and the decisions that result....

31 min
How Consistency Drives Decisions

12: How Consistency Drives Decisions

Learn how the strong desire for consistency-between beliefs and actions, and between current and past actions-drives both our decision making and our judgment of others' actions. But what happens when our own actions are not consistent with our stated beliefs? Decision science reveals that we tend to make a surprising accommodation....

29 min
Social Influences on Decision Making

13: Social Influences on Decision Making

Our relationships with others and broader societal pressures influence our decision making, whether or not we're aware of it. Learn how we look to others for guidance in the most subtle of ways, and consider the many decisions we make to try to mimic or please those whom we perceive to be powerful....

29 min
Nonconscious Influences on Decision Making

14: Nonconscious Influences on Decision Making

Can subliminal messages cause us to make decisions almost against our will? Although a major hoax perpetrated on a panicked public caused us to believe just that for a while, science has demonstrated that we have more control than that-but there is still reason to be wary. Learn about the scientifically proven ways in which we are subtly influenced by subliminal messages and environmental cues....

31 min
An Evolutionary View of Decision Making

15: An Evolutionary View of Decision Making

You might never have thought to blame a bad decision on your ancestors' development millennia ago, but there just might be reason to. Learn about the often surprising and unexpected ways in which evolutionary drives-hidden beneath the surface of our control panel-guide our decision processes even today, for better or for worse....

30 min
Regulatory Focus and Human Motivation

16: Regulatory Focus and Human Motivation

For centuries, decision-making motivation was seen in the context of maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. But recent scientific research reveals a more complex framework. Regulatory Focus theory shows that we operate from four motivational states, not two, and it reveals a richer and more accurate framework for understanding our decisions....

30 min
Decision Rules

17: Decision Rules

How much information do you collect before making a decision? How much is optimal? Do you focus on the pertinent data or let extraneous information affect your choices? Discover the decision rules we use every day, and learn about the many fascinating real-world ways in which we evaluate and compare choices....

29 min
How Context Influences Choice

18: How Context Influences Choice

Uncover the many unexpected ways in which information context affects our decisions. What happens when our mind acts like a big shovel, scooping up all the data in its path and processing that information together, whether relevant or not? Scientific studies reveal how the choice context can lead to some surprising decisions....

28 min
How Framing Effects Guide Decisions

19: How Framing Effects Guide Decisions

Even as children, we learned that the way in which we presented a choice to our parents was often as important as the specific question we asked. Decision science reveals just how that tool-decision framing-can be used to our benefit, and how it is used to manipulate our choices as consumers....

28 min
The Role of Memory in Decisions

20: The Role of Memory in Decisions

In addition to the new information your brain is constantly acquiring, you use memory in your decision-making process. In fact, the quality of any decision often depends on accessing the appropriate memories at the appropriate time. Learn how some surprising tools can help you recall those memories more effectively....

28 min
Assortments, Variety, and Choice

21: Assortments, Variety, and Choice

Although consumers almost always say they want more options, research shows that when faced with too many choices, consumers are sometimes unable to make any decision at all. Decision science reveals the best tools to use to narrow your choices when deciding on everything from a movie to a soul mate....

30 min
How Evaluability Affects Decisions

22: How Evaluability Affects Decisions

Research shows that when evaluating options, we tend to place more importance on attributes we understand and less importance on those we don't-without considering relevance to the decision at hand. Learn how to better evaluate the choices in front of you and to avoid as many poor-decision pitfalls as possible....

28 min
Halo Effects and Choice

23: Halo Effects and Choice

Can a marketing campaign affect how a food tastes? Even though you know the ad hasn't changed the food itself, medical imaging reveals that your brain reacts as if it did! Learn about the fascinating ways in which this halo effect can hinder or help the accuracy of your decision making....

29 min
The Four Rs of Decision Making

24: The Four Rs of Decision Making

Scientists don't anticipate developing one unified theory to model decision making; human beings are just too complex. But you can improve your own decision making-as well as your ability to understand and influence the decisions of others-with these powerful empirical generalizations: reference points, reasons, resources, and replacement....

34 min