Decision Making in a Complex World: Using Computer Simulations to Understand Human Behaviour

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Gain insights into the social phenomena around making choices

People use social cues to help them make decisions in diverse situations. This information is often scarce and uncertain but is also sometimes overwhelmingly abundant. With so many variables, how does the human decision-making process actually work?

On this three-week course, the University of Groningen will explain decision making in the complex world that we live in. Their unique approach encompasses not only conventional theories about social norms but also cutting-edge computer simulation frameworks that help make sense of human behaviour.

Review historical and current theories on the decision-making process

On this course, you’ll draw on classic theories of human behaviour, social learning, and social norms as well as the latest thinking in economics, psychology, and sociology.

This background will help you understand the concept of rationality in decision making, as well as how environmental and social cues shape and are shaped by the choices we make.

Apply a computational approach to human decision making

After looking at the theory behind social phenomena and social reality, you’ll get to apply a simple algorithm and see how it describes the decision process in a specific situation.

You’ll also get to experiment with variations in decision processes that occur naturally among people by running them through the computer simulation.

See how individual behaviour and social reality shape each other

The University of Groningen is known for delivering both engaging material and strong academic support, and this course is no exception.

Blending classic and modern ideas about social learning, and showing how modern technology can be used to understand social norms, the University gives great insights into how and why individuals and groups make the choices that they do.

This course is designed for anyone interested in how people make choices in daily life and in the usability of computer simulations to better understand these processes.

You could be a professional advising large groups of people (eg for a vaccination campaign), someone supporting decision making in complex environments (eg a doctor or financial advisor), or someone who wants to influence people’s choices (eg policy-makers and marketers).