About Expertise Problems: Decision Making Challenges in a Contentious Environment

  • Myriam Merad
  • Benjamin D. Trump
Part of the Risk, Systems and Decisions book series (RSD)


Humans do not like dealing with problems. Though some may revel in times of chaos and doubt, the average person is plenty satisfied when their problems seem far away, and daily life remains ordinary and predictable. Problems are the embodiment of unpredictability, and such unpredictability threatens trouble that could generate an untold array of harmful consequences. Such consequences could be minor (i.e., taking an alternate route to work that happens to experience significant traffic on that day) to life-altering (i.e., critically inaccurate medical diagnoses). Thankfully, the human mind is tailored to be a problem-solving machine and uses various tricks and shortcuts to demystify uncertainty, identify patterns, and derive the optimal solution for the given problem at hand. This ‘brain-as-problem-solving-device’ concept is honed throughout one’s educational experience, where schools use ‘problems’ as teaching moments for students to derive a solution via a mixture of deductive and inductive reasoning and fact retention.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Myriam Merad
    • 1
  • Benjamin D. Trump
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre National de la Recherche ScientifiqueUMR ESPACEParisFrance
  2. 2.US Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development CenterConcordUSA

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