Decision Theory and Decision Behaviour

Normative and Descriptive Approaches

  • Anatol┬áRapoport

Part of the Theory and Decision Library book series (TDLB, volume 15)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Introduction

    1. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 1-7
  3. Decisions Involving a Single Actor

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-9
    2. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 11-24
    3. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 25-54
    4. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 55-67
    5. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 68-96
    6. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 97-121
    7. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 122-142
    8. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 143-158
    9. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 159-174
  4. Non-Cooperative Games

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 175-175
    2. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 177-196
    3. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 197-215
    4. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 216-236
    5. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 237-251
    6. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 252-269
    7. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 270-288
  5. Collective Decisions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 289-289
    2. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 291-316
    3. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 317-335
    4. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 336-349
    5. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 350-368
    6. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 369-381
    7. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 382-399
  6. Concluding Remarks

    1. Anatol Rapoport
      Pages 400-408
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 409-432

About this book


This book presents the content of a year's course in decision processes for third and fourth year students given at the University of Toronto. A principal theme of the book is the relationship between normative and descriptive decision theory. The distinction between the two approaches is not clear to everyone, yet it is of great importance. Normative decision theory addresses itself to the question of how people ought to make decisions in various types of situations, if they wish to be regarded (or to regard themselves) as 'rational'. Descriptive decision theory purports to describe how people actually make decisions in a variety of situations. Normative decision theory is much more formalized than descriptive theory. Especially in its advanced branches, normative theory makes use of mathematicallanguage, mode of discourse, and concepts. For this reason, the definitions of terms encountered in normative decision theory are precise, and its deductions are rigorous. Like the terms and assertions of other branches of mathematics, those of mathematically formalized decision theory need not refer to anything in the 'real', i. e. the observable, world. The terms and assertions can be interpreted in the context of models of real li fe situations, but the verisimilitude of the models is not important. They are meant to capture only the essentials of adecision situation, which in reallife may be obscured by complex details and ambiguities. It is these details and ambiguities, however, that may be crucial in determining the outcomes of the decisions.


cooperative games decision theory mathematics optimization social choice

Authors and affiliations

  • Anatol┬áRapoport
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TorontoCanada

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1989
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-90-481-4047-3
  • Online ISBN 978-94-015-7840-0
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
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