Center for Decision Research
  • CDR
  • About the CDR

About the CDR

At the nexus of the burgeoning field of behavioral science, The Center for Decision Research is devoted to developing better understandings of human behavior and experience. 

Founded by Hillel Einhorn in 1977, The Center for Decision Research helped to pioneer an effort to use science to explain inconsistencies between actual and theoretically rational human behavior.  In the early years, this work centered on decision making, shaking the foundations of classical economic theory by revealing reliable and unrecognized biases in how individuals understand the choices they face. Rather than simply contest establishment wisdom (advanced, in many cases, by luminaries in other departments of the school), CDR faculty fed off the tension between their new insights and traditional models, reconciling and refining apparently incompatible understandings of human behavior to advance both the center and its faculty’s revolutionary research.

Building on these successes in decision making research, the CDR has since led a broad expansion of behavioral science. Using insights from numerous disciplines—including psychology, economics, political science, neuroscience, and sociology—CDR faculty now stand at the forefront of a field that is proving indispensable for understanding human behavior in finance, marketing, management, health care, politics, charity, and many other domains.

Primary Activities

The central priority of the CDR is the production of significant, cutting-edge behavioral science. This research is supported in several ways:

  • The CDR offers its researchers both on-campus and off-site behavioral laboratories, which enable researchers to conduct the tightly-controlled experimental studies that are vital for establishing cause-and-effect relationships.

  • The CDR sponsors a weekly workshop series, in which top behavioral scientists from around the globe present on numerous topics related to human judgment, belief, choice, and behavior, fueling the vigorous scientific debates that help to energize and inspire CDR work.  This formal workshop is supplemented by a weekly “brown bag” session for work in progress and numerous weekly lab meetings led by various faculty members, individually or in small groups.

  • CDR faculty offer ongoing guidance and support to our next generation of behavioral scientists. These mentorship resources are extended to doctoral students, those in the MBA and Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences, and to undergraduates who show significant promise as future researchers.

  • The CDR partners with outside individuals and institutions interested in advancing behavioral science, such as the Museum of Science and Industry and the John Templeton Foundation. By putting key facilities and resources in place, these partners are able to significantly increase the speed and scope of impact with which CDR researchers can advance the field.

For more information about research conducted by CDR members, please explore two previous issues of Capital Ideas Magazine, from March of 2013 and May of 2008, which feature articles highlighting research conducted by members of the CDR.  

You may also read more about the history of the CDR.


Center for Decision Research Team

Heather Caruso, Director, Center for Decision Research
Vicki Drozd, Assistant Director, Center for Decision Research
Melissa Foreman, Assistant Manager, Operations, Center for Decision Research
Justin Landy, Research Professional, Manager of Outreach, Center for Decision Research
Jasmine Kwong, Epley Lab Manager, Field Research Coordinator
Rebecca White, Research Professional, Manager of Lab Operations, Center for Decision Research

    Welcome to the Center for Decision Research

    The Center for Decision Research is devoted to the study of how individuals form judgments and make decisions. Researchers at the center examine the processes by which intuition, reasoning, and social interaction produce beliefs, judgments, and choices. Understanding how and why people make decisions has important applications in a range of contexts, including management, marketing, finance, and public policy.

    © 2018 Chicago Booth: Center for Decision Research