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PhD Studentship: Motivated cognition in structured decision processes

Project Description

Tools used in structured decision processes such as causal maps, decision trees, means-ends networks, and causal loop diagrams have been developed to improve decisions. These tools clarify users' perceptions and evaluations of complex decision situations and inform and guide decision making. Even though research in decision sciences has demonstrated many benefits for decision tools, they can also be quite complex and demand high levels of cognitive effort from users, especially those low in 'epistemic motivation', i.e. individuals who are not highly motivated to find, generate, encode and retrieve new information.

The project explores the impact of individual differences on the effective use of decision tools and aims to increase understanding of how motivated cognition affects the use of decision tools, shedding light on the possible ways in which individuals approach structured decision processes. The project involves laboratory experiments with human subjects and employs a variety of research techniques, including eye tracking, verbal protocol analysis, psychophysiological measurements, and self-reports to study the processes subjects go through when using decision tools. The results are reported in leading academic journals. Students from a broad range of disciplines, including psychology, operational research, and economics, are welcome to apply.

Find out more:

Entry requirements:

UK Masters degree (with average programme mark of no less than 65%) or International equivalent. English Language requirement of IELTS band 7.0 or above with not less than 7.0 in each component.

Contact details:
Name: Dr Ilkka Leppanen
Email address:

How to apply:

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Business School

Please quote reference number: SBE-ILAR19

Funding Notes

The studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £14,777 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. International (non-EU) students may apply, however the total value of the studentship will be used towards the cost of the International tuition fee in the first instance.

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