About the CDR - Center for Decision Research | Chicago Booth

About the CDR

Positioned at the forefront of the rapidly developing field of behavioral science, the Center for Decision Research is devoted to developing a richer understanding of human behavior and experience. 

Founded by Hillel Einhorn in 1977, CDR helped to pioneer the use of 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. They worked to reconcile and refine seemingly incompatible understandings of human behavior to advance both the center and their revolutionary research.

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

In the fall of 2018, PIMCO and the CDR announced a partnership in support of CDR’s behavioral science research. In recognition of this investment in research, Chicago Booth’s CDR laboratories were renamed the PIMCO Decision Research Laboratories. The PIMCO Decision Research Laboratories will yield scientific discoveries with the potential to improve individual and social welfare. The partnership will also include a new “storefront” behavioral science research lab to foster greater engagement with the public, broaden CDR’s reach, and increase the diversity of participants in the studies.

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’s PIMCO Decision Research Laboratories offer researchers both on-campus and off-site behavioral laboratories at three locations: Downtown, Campus, and Pop-ups. The labs enable researchers to conduct tightly-controlled experimental studies that are vital for establishing causal relationships. They also provide an opportunity for the public to engage with scientific research by participating in CDR studies.
  • 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 to showcase 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.
  • In addition to PIMCO, the CDR partners with outside individuals and institutions interested in developing behavioral science research, such as the Museum of Science and Industry and the Chicago Park District. By putting key facilities and resources in place, these partners significantly increase the speed and scope of impact with which CDR researchers can advance the field.

Read more about the history of the CDR.


CDR Staff

Amy Boonstra, Executive Director

Kaushal Addanki, Programmer
Stav Atir, Manager of Outreach
Bryan Baird, Lab Manager
Morgan Britt, Lab Manager
Carman Fowler, Assistant Lab Manager
Sarah Jensen, Assistant Lab Manager
Prianka Koya, Assistant Lab Manager
Jasmine Kwong, Associate Director, Field Lab Services and Programs
Donald Lyons, Assistant Director, Epley Lab & CDR Programs
Chris Partridge, Communications Manager
Jason Su, Research Support Assistant
Mark Temelko, Senior Associate Director of Communications
Michael White, Assistant Lab Manager
Rebecca White, Adjunct Faculty; Director, CDR Labs Services

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