Decisions and Effort - Mind and Matter Seminar on 28 October 2022

Professors Gerit Pfuhl (cognitive science) and Michael Paul Morreau (philosophy) from the Arctic University of Tromsø will give talks in a morning seminar in Think Corner's Fönster venue.
Decisions and Effort

Mind and Matter associate professor Ben Cowley will host two guest speakers, professors Gerit Pfuhl (cognitive science) and Michael Paul Morreau (philosophy) from the Arctic University of Tromsø.

Time: Friday, 28 October 2022, from 9:00 to 11:00

Place: Fönster, Think Corner, Yliopistonkatu 4, Helsinki.

All welcome! For catering, please register via e-form on Monday, 24 October at the latest. The seminar will be in-person only.

Can we disentangle motivation and cognitive effort? (‘cause rational behaviour is more than intelligence)

Professor Gerit Pfuhl is an alumnus of the Moser lab, NTNU, and studies decision making under uncertainty. Her talk is titled Can we disentangle motivation and cognitive effort? (‘cause rational behaviour is more than intelligence).

Motivation is a central aspect of life. One aspect of motivation is the balance between immediate and future benefits, i.e., exploration-exploitation trade-off. It follows that motivation is closely linked to the benefits of extracting the statistical regularities from the environment, aka learning about risk, ambiguity and volatility. Furthermore, one can think of intrinsic motivation as reducing ignorance and extrinsic motivation as maximizing expected utility. In this framework motivation would be the reduction of uncertainties, i.e., performing actions to increase one’s knowledge about the world bound by cost-benefit calculations. On the other hand, motivation is inferred as the result of behavioral changes in reaction to internal or external stimuli, often measured as effort spend. But effort spend depends on ability. The higher the ability the less effort is needed to achieve a goal. Two individuals identical in motivation but differing in ability will have to spend different amount of effort to achieve the same goal. On a series of experiments, I will illustrate the challenge(s) to reliable measure cognitive effort, to disentangle motivation and effort spending, and identifying predictors of individual differences in information sampling to reduce uncertainty.

Scoring and grading

Professor Michael Paul Morreau has research interests in philosophical logic and epistemology. Currently he studies the wisdom of the crowds and will give a talk on forecasting and decision making titled Scoring and grading.

Many panels, boards and committees evaluate items of one kind or another on the basis of scores or grades assigned by individual members. Drawing on insights from philosophy of language, cognitive psychology and social choice theory, this talk first will discuss several aspects of scores and grades that make them well suited to decision making by individuals and groups. Then it will suggest interventions in decision methods currently used by expert panels, to realize more fully their potential for “the wisdom of the crowd”. These interventions will be illustrated using empirical studies of decisions by two kinds of expert panel: funding recommendations by grant-review panels of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and danger-level forecasts by expert panels of the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) in Switzerland.