Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Personality and cognition in the decision making processes

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.09.00  Social sciences  Psychology   

Code Science Field
S260  Social sciences  Psychology 
S261  Social sciences  Differential and individual psychology 
personality, traits, cognition, cognitive science, decision making, psychological development, cognitive schema, cognitive development, learning, creativity, attitudes, social influence, values, education, organizational culture, management, stress, crisis, intelligence, neuroscience
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (14)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  18463  PhD Andreja Avsec  Psychology  Researcher  2005 - 2008  293 
2.  09182  PhD Valentin Bucik  Psychology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  654 
3.  03901  PhD Ludvik Horvat  Psychology  Researcher  2005 - 2008  300 
4.  13425  PhD Darja Kobal Grum  Psychology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  639 
5.  04579  PhD Edvard Konrad  Psychology  Researcher  2005 - 2007  239 
6.  01337  PhD Janek Musek  Psychology  Head  2004 - 2008  732 
7.  06835  PhD Sonja Pečjak  Psychology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  844 
8.  10811  PhD Cirila Peklaj  Social sciences  Researcher  2005 - 2008  416 
9.  01304  PhD Marko Polič  Psychology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  987 
10.  10825  PhD Velko S. Rus  Social sciences  Researcher  2005 - 2008  416 
11.  02885  PhD Argio Sabadin  Psychology  Researcher  2005 - 2008  179 
12.  15062  PhD Matija Svetina  Psychology  Researcher  2005 - 2008  354 
13.  07604  PhD Maks Tušak  Psychology  Researcher  2005 - 2008  404 
14.  02237  PhD Dragotin Žagar  Psychology  Researcher  2005 - 2008  290 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  97,958 
The program team (working in the period 2004-2008) consists of 15 participants, 5 of them are core researchers. The objective of the research program is the formation and empirical verification of a broad theoretical model representing the relationships between personal (conative and cognitive) factors and the outcomes of decision making processes. The factors that influence the outcomes of decision making are not satisfactorily explained in psychology. This is especially true for personal factors including personality dimensions and other conative and cognitive characteristics. Among the existing models prevailed those dealing with the situational factors (e.g. the nature of the decision task), although both day-to-day experience and scientific research findings indicate the important role of personality traits and cognitive abilities in our decision making. What is needed therefore is the integrative theoretical model, which would explain the relationships between the decision making outcomes and their personal predictors. This model would have not only a definite theoretical importance, but will also imply the practical consequences in all important fields of decision making: everyday-life decisions, long-run (“strategic”) life decision, decisions concerning family life, education, professional career, health, social relations, economy, political life etc. The research of the program team is therefore focused on the following major tasks: 1. The theoretical formation and implementation of the psychological model representing the role of personal factors in decision making. It includes a specification of the relationships between the crucial outcomes of decision making (as criterion) and personality and cognitive dimensions (as predictors); 2. The derivation of special models, concerning different partial relationships within the integral model (e.g. the role of personal factors in the decision making in the family life domain); 3. The elaboration of adequate repertoire of psychological instruments provided for the measurement of the variables included into the model; 4. The empirical testing of hypothesized relationships by means of appropriate methodological design (experimental, correlational and multivariate approach); 5. The finalization of the integrative model in dissemination of the research results. The variables included into the model contain on the side of predictors a variety of most important personal psychological dimensions: personality traits and dimensions, dimensions of emotionality, motivation, values, beliefs, attitudes, well-being, and psychological health. On the criterion side, the model would include the following features of decision making outcomes: the perspective (every-day or long-run decision making), the level (metadecision, behaviour intention, immediate decision outcome), the characteristics of the outcome alternatives, and the domain (personal, social, partnership, family, education, professional career, health). According to the complexity of the model, the research of the program team requires the cooperation of the team members representing all major theoretical and applied psychological disciplines (general psychology, psychological methodology, social psychology, developmental psychology, educational psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, clinical and health psychology).
Significance for science
General basis of the research done in period 2004 to 2008 was the model that personality and cognitive dimensions (as well as their interactive effects) significantly influence the dimensions of decision-making in situations of choice. From the general research model, different submodels were derived concerning the structure of model independents (dimensions of personality and cognition) and the structure of dependents (dimensions of decision-making). The majority of empirical research has been thus dedicated to the establishment of structural hierarchies of dependents (personality, cognition and their mutual interactions) and independents (decision-making), as well as to the establishment of essential correlative and causal relations between both areas of dimensional structure. Our research confirmed the validity of existing paradigms in the domain of cognitive dimensions (with g-factor of intelligence on the top of structural hierarchy) and similar in the domain of self-concept. In our research, the existence of general factors in all mentioned structural hierarchies have been convincingly demonstrated. The main result of this line of our research was the elaboration of the new structural paradigm of personality being reported already in Journal of Research in Personality (Musek, 2007). General factor of personality (GFP) or the Big One seems to be additionally important not only for its leading predictive role on the side of personality factors, yet also for its close connection with other conative domains, especially emotionality and well-being (Avsec, Musek). The next very important result of our research was therefore the discovery of high correlation between GFP and general well-being factor (about 0,80). The investigations of the members of programme team contribute also to the confirmation of the universality and stability of core personality structure, as indicated in the research of Rus (2005) participating in the great team of highly cited international study mentored by McCrae and Terraciano. Finally, the established dimensions of personality and cognition (including their interaction, represented by values) explained substantial amounts of the variance in decision-making behavior. At least some important connections between model independents and dependents fitted the criteria for causal relationship. Thus, we can hold the general model of our research (which predicts the significant relations between personality, cognition and decision-making) as acceptable Further very important progress has been made in the field of developmental psychology. Siegler and Svetina (2006, 2008) demonstrated that empirical bias theory of problem solving strategy (being important in decision processes of children) of school children was untenable and proposed a new logical explanation paradigm instead. Similar progress has been done in the field of educational psychology stressing the role of the personality and motivational factors in early and later stages of decision for job and career choices (Pečjak, Peklaj, Pečjak & Žagar). Additional progress yielded also the studies of decision-making in stress situation and traffic (Polič). The results of the project will have both theoretical and practical meaning. They should contribute to further theoretical understanding of relationships between personality, cognition and decision making as the first group of investigated variables and to the further and more improved understanding of the relationships between these variables and major domains of human life-perspective. We expect that the research results will contribute to the theory advancement in different fields of psychology including personality, cognition, decision making, social psychology, developmental psychology, major fields of applied psychology and psychological methodology. One of the most important expected results is the stimulation of further research.
Significance for the country
Beyond the theoretical relevance of the research, the findings should also stimulate the applied research aiming to promote the success and effectiveness of the behaviour concerning the life-perspective domains including partner and family relations, education, schooling, professional work, psychological well-being, health and optimal functioning. This is undoubtedly in high concordance with the most emergent goals of psychology in our times. The results of the research program could be useful for the national strategy of family planning, education, professional work, health psychology promotion and prevention efforts. They could support the strivings toward better quality of life through the implementation on different levels: human relations, therapist-patient communication, partnership, parenting, education, schooling, family and marital counselling, organizational behaviour and others.
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