Decision-making ponderings

Col Beer, Open2Learn, Jul 15, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I want to flag this item because I want to identify it as being wrong. There are two ways this item is wrong, at least in my view:

  • "people base their decisions on their internal representations... richer, more stylized, incorporate multiple levels of abstraction, and take on a structure that enables rapid retrieval of relevant decision-making heuristics and procedures (recognition-primed decision-making (RPD))" - this involves the postulation of a rich representational structure that probably doesn't exist - I would base decisions on what might be called DRD - direct recognition decision-making process.
  • "Zachary et al. (2013) there are four context awareness levels: perception, comprehension, projection, sense-making." I think it's too easy to create cross-categorized taxonomies. This is an example. We could probably identify each of these elements in a 'perception', but there is no principled distinction to be drawn between them, and they actually overlap ('what it means' is another way of saying 'how does it make sense').

In general, through the history of cognition, people have devised elaborate structures to characterize comprehension and decision-making. These are generally fabrications: they are structures built on the presumption that the brain operates as some sort of rule-based information processing machine. It is not, and so these designs are meaningless.

I mention this especiaally for scholars and academics, because you can be dragged down a rabbit-hole trying to identify and discern fine differences between these models. It's important to recall that since none of them are correct, the distinctions between them don't matter (related: see Descates on Scholasticism).

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