Raimo P. Hämäläinen


Behavioral Aspects of  Decision Analysis – PDF

Author: Raimo P. Hämäläinen

Systems Analysis Laboratory, Aalto University

Behavioral issues are always present when using modeling to support human problem solving and decision making. Behavioral effects can relate to the group interaction and communication, as well as to the possibility of procedural mistakes, cognitive biases and even to motivational issues. Decision analysis considers human behavior directly by modeling preferences and risk attitudes. There is also extensive literature on the biases that we can observe in human decision making. Yet, we still have important research challenges in learning how to take decision analysis into practice while incorporating behavioral aspects. This challenge was identified early by the pioneer of decision analysis, Professor Howard Raiffa.

In this talk I will review recent advances in addressing behavioral aspects in decision analysis, negotiations, and in the process of systems-analytical problem solving in general. This theme is in the core of the emerging research area of behavioral operational research. Some cognitive biases can be mitigated but some are very persistent. Debiasing approaches are discussed and the emergence of the phenomenon of path dependence is demonstrated with the Even Swaps method, codeveloped by Howard Raiffa. Today, we need to pay increasing attention to behavioral aspects related to decision models, as they are being used extensively to tackle important problems like the climate change.


Professor Raimo P. Hämäläinen is the director and founder of the Systems Analysis Laboratory in Aalto University, Finland. He earned his MSc and PhD degrees in engineering mathematics and systems theory in 1972 and 1977 from the Helsinki University of Technology (now Aalto University). He is the author of over 200 publications on decision analysis; game theory; energy policy and environmental decision making; systems intelligence; and biological systems. He is also the designer of a number of well-known decision-analysis software programs including the web-HIPRE which is used worldwide in universities and research institutions. As a consultant he has helped to solve problems in the areas of environmental policy and risk analysis. He is a pioneer in the emerging field of behavioral operations research, which has attracted very strong interest in the operational research community. Hämäläinen was nominated to be the Honorary President of the Finnish Operational Research Society for his contributions in developing this field in Finland. He was also a recipient of the MCDM Edgeworth-Pareto Award awarded by the International Society on Multiple Criteria Decision Making.

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