Welcome to the Decision Science & creative insights (DSci) Lab at Kingston Business School. Our research focuses on the role played by social, physical and/or mental processes in decision-making, uncertainty judgements and creative thinking both in the lab and in applied settings.
To study these processes, we use a combination experiments (e.g., online experiments and surveys, interactive lab experiments, and eye-tracking experiments) and observational studies (e.g., video-based behaviour observations in the lab, video-based process-tracing via remote screen-sharing).
Our research seeks to contribute to our understanding of applied issues such as the the cognitive processes underpinning peer-reviewers’ judgments of in research grant funding applications, the motives and barriers to sustainable consumption of children’s toys, the role of healthcare workers’ motivations in flu vaccination decisions, executives’ career decision trajectories, and traders’ investment decisions. In addition, we also study more theoretical issues such as how behaviour, sight, and imagination interact with external choice and problem architectures to produce decisions and creative solutions.
If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate at Kingston University interested in research with our lab, please send a short email about your interest and background, and a cv and any previous written research report to email@example.com.
Interactive processes configure extended systems within which each human agent is embedded. Yet much research on higher cognition, such as problem solving, reflects an implicit but deep commitment to methodological individualism that casts the agent as the ontological locus of cognition, and largely dictates the nature of the research enterprise. Conversely, a methodological interactivism forces one to acknowledge the participative yet not all-encompassing role of capacities such as working memory and thinking dispositions; it also encourages the granular mapping of the cognitive ecosystem from which new ideas emerge.
Creativity and insight emerge through a transactional process of transformation: physical features cue actions that change both the reasoner and the physical environment in which he or she is embedded. Insightful new possibles are realized through an active and mutually transforming exploration of the problem-solving environment. We discuss insight as an enacted process, involving action and perception. As a physical and perceptual activity, a degree of serendipity is inevitable, and, in some circumstances, insight becomes “outsight.” We identify eight key features of first-order creative cognition that map out a new program of research on insight.
Insight is commonly viewed as originating from the restructuring of a mental representation. Distributed cognition frameworks such as the Systemic Thinking Model (SysTM, Vallée-Tourangeau & Vallée-Tourangeau, 2017), however, assumes that information processing can be transformed when it is distributed across mental and material resources. The experiments reported here showed that interactivity enhanced incubation effects with the cheap necklace problem.
Annual vaccination is the most effective way to prevent and control the health and economic burden caused by seasonal influenza. Healthcare workers (HCWs) play a crucial role in vaccine acceptance and advocacy for their patients. This study explored the drivers of HCWs’ vaccine acceptance and advocacy in six European countries.
Psychosocial studies of HCWs’ decisions to get vaccinated have commonly drawn on subjective expected utility models to assess predictors of vaccination, assuming HCWs’ choices result from a rational information-weighing process. By contrast, we recast those decisions as a commitment to vaccination and we aimed to understand why HCWs may want to (rather than believe they need to) get vaccinated against the flu. This article outlines the development and validation of two short scales to measure of cognitive empowerment towards flu vaccination and towards vaccination advocacy.
In this chapter , we propose a systemic model of thinking (SysTM) to account for higher cognitive operations such as how an agent makes inferences, solves problems and makes decisions. SysTM holds that information processing in thinking evolves through a succession of deductive and inductive processing loops. Both loops give rise to transformative actions on the physical information layout, resulting in new perceptual inputs which inform the next processing loop. Such actions result from the enaction of mental action plans in deductive loops and from unplanned direct perception of action possibilities or affordances in inductive loops. To account for direct perception, we introduce the concept of an affordance pool to refer to a short term memory storage of action possibilities in working memory. We conclude by illustrating how SysTM can be used to derive new predictions and guide the study of cognitive interactivity in thinking.
To develop a practical taxonomy to organise the myriad possible root causes of a gap in vaccination coverage rates, we performed a narrative review of the literature and tested whether all non-socio-demographic determinants of coverage could be organised into 4 dimensions: Access, Affordability, Awareness and Acceptance. Forty-three studies were reviewed, from which we identified 23 primary determinants of vaccination uptake. We identified a fifth domain, Activation, which captured interventions such as SMS reminders which effectively nudge people towards getting vaccinated.
Successful statistical reasoning emerges from a dynamic system including: a cognitive agent, material artifacts with their actions possibilities, and the thoughts and actions that are realized while reasoning takes place. Five experiments provide evidence that enabling the physical manipulation of the problem information (through the use of playing cards) substantially improves statistical reasoning, without training or instruction. Although they often go unnoticed, the action possibilities of the material artifacts available and the actions that are realized on those artifacts are constitutive of successful statistical reasoning, even in adults who have ostensibly reached cognitive maturity.
We investigated the role of interactivity in problem solving using a river-crossing problem. We found greater facility to transfer their experience of completing the problem from a low to a high interactivity condition as well as evidence that latency per move was significantly faster in the high interactivity group. So-called problem isomorphs instantiated in different task ecologies draw upon different skills and abilities; a distributed cognition analysis may provide a fruitful perspective on learning and transfer.