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Robyn Dawes

Filed in Profiles
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Recent Career:
1997-Present The Charles J. Queenan, Jr. University Professor, Carnegie Mellon University.
1995-1996 Acting Head, Dept. of Social & Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University
1994 Fellow, Center for Rationality & Interactive Decision Making, Hebrew University of Jerusalem,
1992-Present University Professor, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)
1990-Present Professor of Psychology, Department of Social & Decision Sciences, CMU

Selected Books Published
* Rational Choice in an Uncertain World
* House of Cards


“My current research spans five areas: intuitive expertise, human cooperation, retrospective memory, methodology and United States AIDS policy. […] I write journal articles and books because I believe the information they contain could be valuable — at least on a “perhaps, maybe” basis. I have never written anything with the expectation that it will sell, or become a ‘”citation classic” (although one of my articles has). I believe that in American culture we are obsessed with outcomes rather than with behaving in ways that tend to bring about the best expected outcomes, while “time and chance” play a very important role. […] Some of my clinical colleagues claim that feelings are not understood until they can be put into words. My own view is that every translation of a feeling, thought, idea or mathematical form into words involves at least a small element of automatic distortion, often a much larger element.

“We observe more human cooperation than can be readily inferred from a game theoretic analysis that assumes people are = selfish. I have long been dubious that we can “rescue” this analysis by extending it to include “side payments” (e.g. reciprocal altruism, concern with reputation, utility for acting in accord with a socially instilled conscience, benefit to those genetically related.”

An interview with Dawes

Home page at CMU

Selected Publications

Dawes, R.M. (2001) Everyday Irrationality: How Pseudoscientists, Lunatics, and the Rest of Us Fail Think Rationally. Westview Press.

Dawes, R.M. (1988) and (in press 2001). Rational Choice in an Uncertain World. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. (Recipient of the William James Award of Division #1 of the American Psychological Association ’90). Second edition Hastie, R. & Dawes, R.M., Sage Press.

Swets, J.A., Dawes, R.M., and Monahan, J. (2000). Psychological science can improve diagnostic decisions. Psychological Sciences in the Public Interest (a supplement to Psychological Science), 1, No. 1.

Swets, J.A., Dawes, R.M., and Monahan, J. (2000). Better decisions through science, Scientific American, 283, 4, 70-75.

Dawes, R.M., and messick, D.M. (2000). Social dilemmas. In = International Journal of Psychology. Special Issue on Diplomacy and Pschology, 35, 111-116.

Dawes, R.M. (1998). Behavioral decision making, judgment, and inference. In D. Gilbert, S. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), The Handbook of Social Psychology. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 589-597.

Dawes, R.M., and Mulford, M. (1996. The false consensus effect and overconfidence: Flaws in judgment, or flaws in how we study judgment? Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 65, no. 3, 201-211.

Dawes, R.M. (1994). House of Cards: Psychology and Psychotherapy Built on Myth. New York: The Free Press. Printed in paperback, September 1996.

Dawes, R.M. (1991). Social dilemmas, economic self-interest and evolutionary theory. In D.R. Brown & J.E.K. Smith (Eds.), Recent Research in Psychology: Frontiers of Mathematical Psychology: Essays in Honor of Clyde Coombs. New York: Springer-Verlag, 53-79.


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