Faculty & Research

Reid Hastie

Reid Hastie

Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science

Reid Hastie studies judgment and decision making (managerial, legal, medical, engineering, and personal), memory and cognition, and social psychology. He is best known for his research on legal decision making and he is currently studying the role of causal reasoning in judgments of all kinds and the wisdom of crowds in collective decisions.

Hastie has written a textbook, Rational Choice in an Uncertain World: The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making, in collaboration with Robyn Dawes of Carnegie Mellon University, and a popular book on collective intelligence, Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter, with Cass Sunstein. He is involved with the Center for Decision Research at Chicago Booth.

He taught previously at Harvard University, Northwestern University, and the University of Colorado where he was director of the Center for Research and Judgment Policy.

Hastie has served on review panels for the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Research Council, and on 18 professional journal editorial boards. His research was funded continuously by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health from 1975 to 2005. He has published more than 100 articles in scientific journals, including Psychological Review, Psychological Bulletin, Psychological Science, Journal of Experimental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Hastie earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Stanford University in 1968, a master's degree in Psychology from the University of California at San Diego in 1970, and a doctoral degree in Psychology from Yale University in 1973. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 2001.


2020 - 2021 Course Schedule

Number Title Quarter
38002 Managerial Decision Making 2021  (Winter)
38118 Effective Management of Groups and Teams 2021  (Summer)
38913 Foundations of Judgment and Decision Making 2021  (Winter)


Research Activities

Judgment and decision making (managerial, legal, medical, engineering, and personal), the neural substrates of decision processes, memory and cognition, and social psychology. Some currently active research topics include: the impact of rumors and "news" on stock market forecasts; the role of explanations in category concept representations (including the effects on category classification, deductive and inductive inferences); civil jury decision making; neural and physiological substrates of risky decision making; and the psychology of reading statistical graphs and maps.

With N. Pennington, "Explanation-based decision making," in T. Connolly, H. R. Arkes, and K. R. Hammond, eds., Judgment and Decision Making: An Interdisciplinary Reader, 2nd ed. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

"Problems for judgment and decision making," Annual Review of Psychology, vol. 52 (2001).

With R.M. Dawes, Rational Choice in an Uncertain World: The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making (California: Sage Publishers, 2001).

With T. Kameda, "The robust beauty of majority rules," Psychological Review (2005).

With A.G. Sanfey, "The neuroscience of decision making," in E.E. Smith and S.M. Kosslyn, eds., Cognition: Mind and Brain (New York: Prentice Hall, 2006).

For a listing of research publications, please visit the university library listing page.

New: The Preference for Moderation Scale
Date Posted: Jul  31, 2020
We propose that individual differences in the value placed on the principle of moderation exist and influence many aspects of consumer decision-making. The idea that moderation is an important guiding norm of human behavior is prevalent throughout history and an explicit theme in many philosophies, religions, and cultures. Yet, moderation has not been studied as an individual-level determinant of consumer behavior. We develop a scale that measures the degree to which individuals have a Preference for Moderation (PFM). The PFM scale predicts consequential behavior in many decision contexts. We first report on scale development, including the generation and selection of items. We then report analyses that show PFM is distinct from several popular individual-difference variables. Related to cultural background, PFM reliably predicts the use of compromise (Study 1) and balancing (vs. highlighting) strategies (Study 2), as well as various decision-making behaviors, including reliance on ...

New: Predicting Outcomes in a Sequence of Binary Events: Belief Updating and Gambler’s Fallacy Reasoning
Date Posted: Jun  04, 2020
We report on six experiments studying participants’ predictions of the next outcome in a sequence of binary events. Participants faced one of three mechanisms generating 18 sequences of 8 events: a random mechanical bingo cage, an intentional goal-directed actor, and a financial market. We systematically manipulated participants’ beliefs about the base rate probabilities at which different types of outcomes were generated by each mechanism. Participants either faced unknown (ambiguous) base rates, a specified distribution of three equiprobable base rates, or a precise, stationary base rate. Six target sequences ended in streaks of between two and seven identical outcomes. We focused on participants’ predictions of the ninth, unobserved outcome in each of these target sequences. Across all generating mechanisms and prior belief conditions, the most common prediction pattern was best described as close-to-rational belief updating, producing an increasingly strong bias toward ...

REVISION: Garbage in, Garbage Out? Some Micro Sources of Macro Errors
Date Posted: Nov  18, 2013
Many institutions, large or small, make their decisions through some process of deliberation. Nonetheless, deliberating institutions often fail, in the sense that they make judgments that are false or that fail to take advantage of the information that their members have. Micro mistakes can lead to macro blunders or even catastrophes. There are four such failures; all of them have implication for large-scale institutions as well as small ones. (1) Sometimes the predeliberation errors of an institution’s members are amplified, not merely propagated, as a result of deliberation. (2) Institutions fall victim to cascade effects, as the initial speakers or actors are followed by their successors, who do not disclose what they know. Nondisclosure, on the part of those successors, may be a product of either informational or reputational cascades. (3) As a result of group polarization, deliberating institutions sometimes end up in a more extreme position in line with their predeliberation ...

New: Democracy Under Uncertainty: The ‘Wisdom of Crowds’ and the Free-Rider Problem in Group Decision Mak
Date Posted: Sep  16, 2010
We introduce a game theory model of individual decisions to cooperate by contributing personal resources to group decisions versus by free-riding on the contributions of other members. In contrast to most public-goods games that assume group returns are linear in individual contributions, the present model assumes decreasing marginal group production as a function of aggregate individual contributions. This diminishing marginal returns assumption is more realistic and generates starkly ...

New: What’s Next? Judging Sequences of Binary Events
Date Posted: Feb  20, 2010
The authors review research on judgments of random and nonrandom sequences involving binary events with a focus on studies documenting gambler’s fallacy and hot hand beliefs. The domains of judgment include random devices, births, lotteries, sports performances, stock prices, and others. After discussing existing theories of sequence judgments, the authors conclude that in many everyday settings people have naive complex models of the mechanisms they believe generate observed events, and they ...

New: Perceived Causality as a Cue to Temporal Distance
Date Posted: Nov  30, 2009
The three experiments reported show that judgments of elapsed time between events depend on perceived causal relations between the events. Participants judged pairs of causally related events to occur closer together in time than pairs of causally unrelated events that were separated by the same actual time interval. The causality-time relationship was first demonstrated for time judgments about historical events. Causally related events were judged to be significantly closer together in time ...

New: Introduction to the Special Issue: Decision Making and the Law
Date Posted: Oct  12, 2009
Legal decision making is different from other types of decision making in several ways. For example, the decision makers range from highly qualified and trained professionals such as judges, making repeated decisions alone to novices such as jurors, making one off decisions in groups. Pertinent information may be unavailable to the decision maker, and he/she is also unlikely to receive much feedback about the quality of a decision. However, legal decision makers rarely suffer any consequences ...

REVISION: Decision and Experience: Why Don't We Choose What Makes Us Happy?
Date Posted: Nov  10, 2008
Recent years have witnessed a growing interest among psychologists and other social scientists in subjective wellbeing and happiness. Here we review selected contributions to this development from the literature on behavioral decision theory. In particular, we examine many, somewhat surprising, findings that show people systematically fail to predict or choose what maximizes their happiness, and we look at reasons why they fail to do so. These findings challenge a fundamental assumption that ...

New: Effects of Amount of Information on Judgment Accuracy and Confidence
Date Posted: Nov  10, 2008
When a person evaluates his or her confidence in a judgment, what is the effect of receiving more judgment-relevant information? We report three studies that show when judges receive more information, their confidence increases more than their accuracy, producing substantial confidence-accuracy discrepancies. Our results suggest that judges do not adjust for the cognitive limitations that reduce their ability to use additional information effectively. We place these findings in a more general ...

REVISION: Hedonomics: Bridging Decision Research with Happiness Research
Date Posted: Nov  03, 2008
One way to increase happiness is to increase the objective levels of external outcomes; another is to improve the presentation and choices among external outcomes without increasing their objective levels. Economists focus on the 1st method. We advocate the second, which we call hedonomics. Hedonomics studies (a) relationships between presentations (how a given set of mfoutcomes are arranged among themselves or relative to other outcomes) and happiness and (b) relationships between choice ...

New: Four Failures of Deliberating Groups
Date Posted: Apr  18, 2008
Many groups make their decisions through some process of deliberation, usually with the belief that deliberation will improve judgments and predictions. But deliberating groups often fail, in the sense that they make judgments that are false or that fail to take advantage of the information that their members have. There are four such failures. (1) Sometimes the predeliberation errors of group members are amplified, not merely propagated, as a result of deliberation. (2) Groups may fall victim ...

New: Calibration Trumps Confidence as a Basis for Witness Credibility
Date Posted: Apr  09, 2007
In the courtroom and in laboratory studies, confident witnesses are viewed as more credible, and thus have more influence on judgments and verdicts, than unconfident witnesses. In two experiments (with college student subjects) we demonstrate that erroneous testimony may damage the credibility of a high-confidence witness more than a low-confidence one. We show that listeners rely on a source's calibration - whether the source's confidence is appropriate to the level of knowledge - rather ...

New: What Happened on Deliberation Day?
Date Posted: Jun  26, 2006
What are the effects of deliberation about political issues? This essay reports the results of a kind of Deliberation Day, involving sixty-three citizens in Colorado. Groups from Boulder, a predominantly liberal city, met and discussed global warming, affirmative action, and civil unions for same-sex couples; groups from Colorado Springs, a predominately conservative city, met to discuss the same issues. The major effect of deliberation was to make group members more extreme than they were ...