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SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship

Posted on Friday, Nov 27 2020

Great news from the Swiss National Science Foundation: I was awarded an Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship for my project entitled "Decision making in a complex world: Towards a process-level theory of risk taking" (details about the project will soon appear online). I am super excited about this opportunity and look forward to joining the University of Zurich as an assistant professor next year.

Amerbach Prize 2020

Posted on Friday, Nov 27 2020

Even more good news in addition to the approval of my SNSF Eccellenca Professorial Fellowship (see blog post above): Today was the (virtual) dies academicus, and the University of Basel announced online that I will receive the Amerbach Prize 2020 for my work on individual differences in decision making under risk and uncertainty!

Presentation at the Risk Center of the ETH Zurich: Modeling risk perception of 5G

Posted on Thursday, Nov 05 2020

This week I was invited to give a talk at a dialogue event on 5G, organized by the Risk Center of the ETH Zurich. 5G is the latest generation of mobile communications technology, and its recent deployment in countries around the world has triggered fierce public debates. At the dialogue event, I presented a project in which I modeled inter- and intraindividual differences in people's risk perceptions of this technology, as well as how people's risk perceptions of 5G are associated with their policy-related attitudes. The presentation was recorded and if you are interested, please have a look below.

Special issue on decision making under risk and uncertainty

Posted on Monday, Jun 15 2020

The research magazine of the University of Basel, UNI NOVA, has recently released a special issue on decision making under risk and uncertainty. In this issue, I and other decision scientists from psychology and economics were interviewed on the latest developments in our field, as well as regarding how the behavioral sciences may contribute to understanding how people approach the risks and uncertainties of modern life. As you will potentially notice, these interviews were still conducted in the pre-Corona era. That is, for once there is none of the omnipresent discussion in this respect. Nevertheless, it might be an interesting exercise to see which of the discussed concepts and findings apply to the current period, too!

Registered report on competitive decisions from experience published in JDM

Posted on Saturday, Apr 11 2020

We often (have to) make choices between risky options without knowing the possible outcomes upfront. Sometimes, however, we can obtain a preview through active information search (e.g., sampling reviews on Tripadvisor to choose one of two hotels). But what if other people simultaneously pursue the same goal, forcing us to make decisions from experience under competitive pressure ("only one room left at this price")? In this paper, I studied to what extent competition reduces pre-decisional search (and potentially choice performance) in different choice environments. A set of simulation analyses and empirical studies indicated that reduced search due to competitive pressure was particularly detrimental for choice performance in "wicked" environments, which contain rare events and thus require ample exploration to identify advantageous options. Interestingly, however, from a cost-benefit perspective and taking into account search costs, frugal search may not only be efficient in "kind" but also in "wicked" environments. For the full results, please have a look here:

Frey, R. (2020). Decisions from experience: Competitive search and choice in kind and wicked environments. Judgment and Decision Making, 15, 282-303. Online | PDF

On a side note, in this project I was up for some exploration myself: In the spirit of trying out new avenues for promoting transparent and reproducible research, I was committed to publish this paper as a registered report (RR). The idea of this relatively new publication format is to run the paper's theoretical rationale through the full peer-review process at a scientific journal, with the goal of obtaining "in-principle acceptance" before the empirical studies are conducted. It was a very interesting but sometimes also difficult process, as it may be particularly hard to convince reviewers of the soundness and importance of the research questions a-priori, without being able to present fancy results yet. So I am glad that this paper found a nice home at JDM, and I hope that more psychological journals will adopt the format of RRs soon!

For more on my research on decisions from experience, please also see the research section.

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