Health beliefs and decision making

AbstractWe make decisions that affect our short-term and long-term health several times every day. We all have beliefs about what is good for us and what is bad for us (and we at least sometimes act in accordance in those beliefs). How we form these beliefs, and how these beliefs do or do not affect our future behavior is a domain ripe for cognitive science research. Given the importance of topics such as causal reasoning, reinforcement learning, and decision-making to our field, one might expect direct applications to health to be at the forefront. However for the sake of experimental control and formal control, researchers typically conduct experiments with novel materials disconnected from real world beliefs and design experimental tasks that may not reflect the true structure of the domain. The goal of this symposium is to show how the domain of health is perfect for a more tightly coupled exchange between investigating real-world beliefs and behavior with controlled experimental tasks ready for formal explanation.

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