Prof Wandi Bruine de Bruin
BSc Psychology, Free University Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
MSc Cognitive Psychology, Free University Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
MSc Behavioral Decision Theory, Carnegie Mellon University (USA)
PhD Behavioral Decision Making and Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University (USA)
Professor with Leadership Chair in Behavioural Decision Making, LUBS
Co-director of the Centre for Decision Research LUBS
Head of Decision Research Subject Group LUBS
Associate Professor of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University (USA)
Adjunct Senior Researcher, RAND Corporation (USA)
Professor Wändi Bruine de Bruin holds a Leadership Chair in Behavioural Decision Making at the Leeds University Business School, where she also serves as the co-director of the Centre for Decision Research (www.leeds.ac.uk/decision-research/). She also holds affiliations with Carnegie Mellon University, the RAND Corporation, and the University of Southern California.
Professor Wändi Bruine de Bruin’s research aims to study how people make decisions affecting their environmental, health, and financial outcomes, and, if needed, how to design communications to improve those decisions. Specific research interests include behavioural decision making, risk perception and communication, individual differences in decision-making competence across the lifespan, public perceptions of climate change and climate change adaptation, public perceptions of energy efficiency and emerging technologies, health psychology, economic psychology, survey methodology. Among other things, she is currently leading an ESRC-funded project on public perceptions of climate change (http://business.leeds.ac.uk/news-events/item/articles/2013/October/professor-wandi-bruine-de-bruin-receives-esrc-grant-to-improve-public-preparedness-for-heat-waves/) and an EU-funded project on ageing and decision-making competence (http://business.leeds.ac.uk/news-events/item/articles/2013/September/professor-bruine-de-bruin-receives-grant-to-improve-decisions-for-people-of-all-ages/).
Professor Wändi Bruine de Bruin has served a member the editorial board the Journal of Experimental Psychology:Applied, the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, and Psychology & Aging. In 2012, she served as the co-editor of a 2012 special issue of the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making on decision-making competence. She is a member of the Scientific & Technical Committee of the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC), which provides evidence-based advice to international policy makers (http://www.irgc.org/ ). She has contributed her expertise to workshops and expert panels organised by various international organizations, including Health Canada, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Federal Reserve, and the US Food and Drug Administration.
To learn more Professor Wändi Bruine de Bruin's work, please see:
* Her interview with Metro about her project on public preparedness for heatwaves.
* Her presentation at the US National Academy of Sciences Sackler Colloquium on the Science of Science Communication.
* Her Inaugural lecture at the Leeds University Business School.
* Her interview at the International Risk Governance Council.
UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS
* Professor with Leadership Chair in Behavioural Decision Making * Subject Group Leader of Decision Research, Management Division
* Co-director of the university-wide Centre for Decision Research
* Associate Professor, Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University (US)
* Adjunct Senior Behavioural Researcher, RAND Corporation (US)
* Visiting Professor, Federal Reserve Bank of New York (US)
OTHER PROFESSIONAL ROLES
* Scientific and Technical Council, International Risk Governance Council
* Scientific Committee, Association of Business Schools (ABS) International Guide to Academic Journal Quality
* Program committee, Behavioural Decision Research in Management conference
* Editorial board, Psychology & Aging
* Editorial board, Journal of Behavioral Decision Making
* Editorial board, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
* Co-editor, special issue of Current HIV Research on improving communication of risk about sexually transmitted diseases (2014)
* Co-editor, special issue of the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making on decision-making competence
Throughout their lives, people face many important decisions affecting their health, finances, and environmental impacts. Policy makers and practitioners must decide whether these decisions are in need of improvement, and if so, how to help people to improve these decisions. The overall goal of my research is to use the theories and methods from behavioral decision research to better understand, and subsequently improve, how people perceive the risks that they face and make decisions about them. Below, I will briefly discuss my research on (1) understanding public risk perceptions and expectations, (2) individual differences in decision-making competence across the life span, and (3) designing risk communications.
Understanding Public Risk Perceptions and Expectations. Risk perceptions and expectations for future events are central to models of health behavior, economic decisions, and energy saving. For example, the National Longitudinal Study of Youth asks adolescents about their probability of getting pregnant in the next year and getting a high school diploma by age 20 because such expectations should inform their decisions about for example how much to invest in their education. Few studies have examined whether responses (e.g., for getting pregnant in the next year) actually have concurrent validity (e.g., correlations with reporting unprotected sex) or predictive validity (e.g., correlations with getting pregnant next year). We found that even adolescent respondents to the National Longitudinal Study of Youth can judge valid probabilities for getting pregnant, graduating high school and other life events (Bruine de Bruin, Parker, & Fischhoff, 2007). Hence, their probabilities summarized information they had about themselves, as it pertained to their likelihood of experiencing these events. Because adolescents can even predict whether they will test positive for Chlamydia on a clinical test (Bruine de Bruin, Downs, Murray, & Fischhoff, 2010), these probability judgments are also useful for physicians providing STI testing to adolescents. Despite having promising validity, risk perception studies often find a seemingly excessive number of 50% responses to probability questions, independent of the actual likelihood of predicted events. In a survey conducted with the Longitudinal Internet panel for the Social Sciences, we found that 50% is more likely than other probabilities to be used as an expression of uncertainty about what number to use, rather than an actual probability estimate (Bruine de Bruin & Carman, 2012). We have also examined survey design strategies for reducing the inappropriate use of 50% (Bruine de Bruin, Fischhoff, Millstein, & Halpern-Felsher, 2000) and improving overall validity (Bruine de Bruin, Parker, & Maurer, 2011). Additionally, I have worked with economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to better measure consumers’ expectations for inflation (Armantier et al., 2013; Bruine de Bruin, Manski, Topa, & VanderKlaauw, 2011; Bruine de Bruin, vanderKlaauw, & Topa, 2011). I am currently working on a University of Michigan project funded by the US National Institute of Health, which aims to improve on the validity of economic expectations questions on the Health and Retirement Study (see cogecon.isr.umich.edu)
Individual differences in decision-making competence across the life span. According to normative theories of decision making, good decision makers need a composite of skills, including the ability to make coherent risk judgments, to resist “sunk-cost” investments that are no longer profitable, and to be appropriately confident in their knowledge. The literature provides a wealth of paper-and-pencil tasks designed to elicit systematic biases in people’s reported judgments and decisions, including inconsistent judgments of risks, honoring sunk costs, and overconfidence. My colleagues and I have examined the validity of commonly studied judgment and decision-making tasks, combined in our Adult Decision-Making Competence (A-DMC) measure. Performance on judgment and decision-making tasks, and the overall A-DMC, was correlated to obtaining better life decision outcomes (such as avoiding bankruptcy and unwanted pregnancy), even after controlling for intelligence and socio-economic status (Bruine de Bruin, Parker, & Fischhoff, 2007). I am currently leading an ESRC-funded project on EU-funded project on ageing and decision-making competence (http://business.leeds.ac.uk/news-events/item/articles/2013/September/professor-bruine-de-bruin-receives-grant-to-improve-decisions-for-people-of-all-ages/). We are examining the role of aging-related changes in cognitive ability, motivation, and experiential skills in decision-making skills across the life span (Bruine de Bruin, Parker, & Fischhoff, 2012; Bruine de Bruin, Strough, & Parker, in press; Bruine de Bruin, McNair, Taylor, Summers, & Strough, in press). Because A-DMC provides a valid measure of individuals’ decision-making skills, it will also allow us and others to examine the role of decision-making competence in specific decisions, to compare the decision-making competence of different groups, and, perhaps most importantly, to evaluate the effectiveness of decision-making classes. The A-DMC measure can be downloaded from http://www.sjdm.org/dmidi/Adult_-_Decision_Making_Competence.html.
Designing risk communications. To make more informed decisions about their health, finances, and environmental impacts, people need to understand the risks and benefits of the available alternatives. Risk communications aim to provide that information. However, it is often difficult for experts to understand the informational needs of their audiences (Bruine de Bruin & Bostrom, 2013). This line of research aims to improve the design of risk communications by first conducting formative research with members of its intended audience, so as to better understand what they still need to know. For example, my colleagues and I have developed an interactive video DVD teaching sexual decision making to female adolescents targeting knowledge and behavioral skills that were missing from girls’ repertoires, such as how to negotiate safer sex practices with a sexual partner. In a randomized controlled trial, participants who viewed the video intervention were more likely to become abstinent, reported fewer condom failures if they did have sex, and were less likely to be diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (Bruine de Bruin, Downs, et al., 2007; Downs et al., 2004). Because our DVD has been recognized as one of the few effective sexuality education materials to have been developed since the 1980s, we have received funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to update and evaluate it with a large sample of today’s adolescents. Since that initial project, I have broadened my work on risk communication to other topics. Most involve collaborations with domain experts who recognize the need to involve social scientists in their efforts to teach people about energy conservation (Attari et al., 2010), low-carbon energy generation technologies (Fleishman et al., 2010; Mayer et al., 2014), smart meters (Krishnamurti et al., 2012) and hurricane modification (Klima et al., 2012). I am currently leading an ESRC-funded project on developing communications targeting public perceptions of climate change (http://business.leeds.ac.uk/news-events/item/articles/2013/October/professor-wandi-bruine-de-bruin-receives-esrc-grant-to-improve-public-preparedness-for-heat-waves/).
Visit the Centre for Decision Research website
Professor Wändi Bruine de Bruin teaches Risk Perception and Communication (5202M) in Semester 2. This module aims to help future executives, policy makers, financial advisors, health professionals, and other practitioners to gain a critical understanding of how non-experts perceive risks, how non-experts’ risk perceptions vary and deviate from those of experts, as well as how to effectively communicate risk information to diverse audiences. We will cover the main findings of the risk perception literature, and how to design our own interviews and surveys so as to learn more about how people perceive specific risks. We will also discuss how to design and evaluate our own communication materials so as to improve people’s risk perceptions and their associated decisions. We will discuss applications in the contexts of finance, behavioural economics, public health, sustainability, and climate change.
Refereed contributions to scientific articles
Bruine de Bruin, W., McNair, S., Taylor, A.L., Summers, B., & Strough, J. (in press). 'Thinking about numbers is not my idea of fun': Need for cognition mediates age differences in numeracy performance. Medical Decision Making.
Bruine de Bruin, W., Strough, J., & Parker, A.M. (in press). Getting older isn’t all that bad: Better decisions and coping when facing ’sunk costs.’ Psychology and Aging.
Downs, J.S., Bruine de Bruin, W., Fischhoff, B., & Murray, P.J. (in press). Behavioral decision research intervention reduces risky sexual behavior. Current HIV Research.
Taylor, A.L., Bruine de Bruin, W., & Dessai, S. (in press). Climate change beliefs and perceptions of weather-related changes in the United Kingdom. Risk Analysis.
Bruine de Bruin, W., & Wong-Parodi, G. (2014). The role of initial affective impressions in responses to educational communications: The case of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 20, 126-135.
Bruine de Bruin, W., Stone, E.R., Gibson, J.M., Fischbeck, P.F., & Shoraka, M.B. (2013). The effect of communication design and recipients’ numeracy on responses to UXO risk. Journal of Risk Research, 16, 981-1004.
Del Missier, F., Mäntylä, T., Hansson, P., Bruine de Bruin, W., & Parker, A.M. (2013). The multifold relationship between memory and decision making: An individual differences study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39, 1344-1364.
Stone, E.R., Choi, Y.S., Bruine de Bruin, W., & Mandel, D.R. (2013). I can take the risk, but you should be safe: Self-other differences in situations in volving physical safety. Judgment and Decision Making, 8, 250-267.
Bruine de Bruin, W., van der Klaauw, W., Topa, G., Downs, J.S., Fischhoff, B., & Armantier, O. (2012). The effect of question wording on consumers’ reported inflation expectations. Journal of Economic Psychology, 4, 749-757.
Jacobson, D., Parker, A., Spetzler, C., Bruine de Bruin, W., Hollenbeck, K., Heckerman, D., & Fischhoff, B. (2012). Improved learning in U.S. history and decision competence with decision-focused curriculum. PLOS One, 7, 1-3.
Krishnamurti, T., Schwartz, D., Davis, A., Fischhoff, B., Bruine de Bruin, W., Lave, L. & Wang, J. (2012). Preparing for smart grid technologies: A behavioral decision research approach to understanding consumer expectations about smart meters. Energy Policy, 41, 790-797.
Parker, A.M., Bruine de Bruin, W., Yoong, J. & Willis, R. (2012). Inappropriate confidence and retirement planning: Four studies with a national sample. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 25, 382-389.
Bruine de Bruin, W., van der Klaauw, W., Downs, J.S., Fischhoff, B., Topa, G. & Armantier, O. (2010). Expectations of inflation: The role of financial literacy and demographic variables. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 44, 381-402.
Downs, J., Arslanian, S., Bruine de Bruin, W., Carr Copeland, V., Doswell, W., Herman, W., Lain, K., Mansfield, J., Murray, P., White, N., Charron-Prochownik, D. (2010). Implications of type 2 diabetes on adolescent reproductive health risk: An expert model. The Diabetes Educator, 36, 911-919.
Attari, S., Schoen, M., Davidson, C., DeKay, M.L., Bruine de Bruin, W., Dawes, R. & Small, M. (2009). Preferences for change: Do individuals prefer voluntary actions, soft regulations or hard regulations to decrease fossil fuel consumption? Ecological Economics, 68, 1701-1710.
Bruine de Bruin, W., Downs, J.S., Fischhoff, B. & Palmgren, C. (2007). Development and evaluation of an HIV/AIDS knowledge measure for adolescents focusing on misunderstood concepts. HIV/AIDS Prevention in Children and Youth, 8, 35-57.
Downs, J.S., Murray, P.J., Bruine de Bruin, W., White, J.P., Palmgren, C. & Fischhoff, B. (2004). Interactive video behavioral intervention to reduce adolescent females' STD risk: A randomized controlled trial. Social Science & Medicine, 59, 1561-1572.
Palmgren, C., Morgan, M.G., Bruine de Bruin, W. & Keith, D. (2004). Initial public perceptions of deep geological and oceanic disposal of carbon dioxide. Environmental Science & Technology, 38, 6441-6450.
Bruine de Bruin, W. & Fischhoff, B. (2000). The effect of question format on measured HIV/AIDS knowledge in detention center teens, high school students, and adults. AIDS Education and Prevention, 12, 187-198.
Bruine de Bruin, W., Fischhoff, B., Millstein, S.G. & Halpern-Felsher, B.L. (2000). Verbal and numerical expressions of probability: “It’s a fifty-fifty chance.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 81, 115-131.
Downs, J.S., Bruine de Bruin, W., Fischhoff, B. & Walker, E.A. (in press). [Book chapter]. Public health decision making and risk perception. In: Diabetes Public Health: From Data to Policy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Bruine de Bruin, W., Del Misfa, F., & Levin, I.P. (2012). Individual differences in decision making competence. [Editorial]. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 25, 329-330.
Fleishman, L., Bruine de Bruin, W., & Morgan, M.G. (2012). The value of CCS public opinion research [Letter to the editor.] International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 7, 265-266.
Bruine de Bruin, W. (2012). Adolescent decision making. [Peer-reviewed book chapter]. In: M. K. Dhami, A. Schlottmann & M. Waldmann. Judgment and Decision Making as a Skill: Learning, Development, and Evolution. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Peters, E.M. & Bruine de Bruin, W. (2012). Aging and decision skills. [Peer-reviewed book chapter]. In M. K. Dhami, A. Schlottmann & M. Waldmann (Eds). Judgment and Decision Making as a Skill: Learning, Development, and Evolution. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Armantier, O., Bruine de Bruin, W., Topa, G., van der Klaauw, W., Zafar, B. (2011). Inflation expectations and behavior: Do survey respondents act on their beliefs? Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Report No. 509.
Attari, S.Z., DeKay, M.L., Davidson, C.I. & Bruine de Bruin, W. (2011). Anchoring effects on energy perceptions [Letter]. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108, 124.
Attari, S.Z., DeKay, M.L., Davidson, C.I. & Bruine de Bruin, W. (2011). Changing household behaviors to curb climate change: How hard can it be? [Commentary]. Sustainability, 4, 9-11.
Bruine de Bruin, W. (2011). Framing effects in survey design: How respondents make sense of the questions we ask. [Book chapter]. In: Keren, G. (Ed.) Perspectives on Framing. London, UK: Taylor & Francis (pp. 303-324).
Bruine de Bruin, W., van der Klaauw, W., Downs, J.S., Fischhoff, B., Topa, G., & Armantier, O. (2010). The effect of question wording on reported expectations and perceptions of inflation. Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Report No. 443.
Downs, J.S., Bruine de Bruin, W., Fischhoff, B., Hesse, B. & Maibach, E. (2009). How people think about cancer: A mental models approach. [Book chapter]. In: O’Hair, D. (Ed.) Handbook of Risk and Crisis Communication. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, pp. 507-524.
Bruine de Bruin, W., Manski, C.F., Topa, G., & van der Klaauw, W. (2009). Measuring consumer uncertainty about inflation. Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Report No. 415.
Van der Klaauw, W., Bruine de Bruin, W., Topa, G., Potter, S., & Bryan, M. (2008). Rethinking the measurement of household inflation expectations: Preliminary Findings. Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Report No. 359.
Bruine de Bruin, W. (2008). Decisions, Uncertainty, and the Brain. The Science of Neuroeconomics by Paul W. Glimcher. [Book review]. Journal of Computational Intelligence and Applications, 7, 233-235.
Bruine de Bruin, W., Downs, J.S. & Fischhoff, B. (2007). Adolescents’ thinking about the risks and benefits of sexual behavior. [Peer-reviewed book chapter]. In: Lovett, M.C. & Shah, P. (Eds.) Thinking with data. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, pp. 421-439.
Palmgren, C., Morgan, M.G., Bruine de Bruin, W. & Keith, D. (2007). Initial public perceptions of deep geological and oceanic disposal of carbon dioxide. [Reprint of peer-reviewed journal article]. In: Wilson, E. & Gerard, D. Carbon Capture and Geologic Sequestration: Integrating Technology, Monitoring, and Regulation. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, pp. 199-222. Reprinted from Environmental Science & Technology, 38, 6441-6450.
Parker, A.M., Fischhoff, B., Bruine de Bruin, W. (2005). Who thinks they know more – but actually knows less? Adolescent confidence in their HIV/AIDS knowledge and general. [Peer-reviewed abstract for the Association for Consumer Research conference]. Advances in Consumer Research, 33, 12-13.
Downs, J. S., Bruine de Bruin, W., Murray, P. J., & Fischhoff, B. (2004). When “it only takes once” fails: perceived infertility predicts condom use and STI acquisition. [Peer-reviewed abstract for the North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology conference]. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, 17, 224.
Keren, G. & Bruine de Bruin, W. (2003). On the assessment of decision quality: Considerations regarding utility, conflict, and accountability. [Book chapter]. In: Hardman, D. & Macchi, L. (Eds.). Thinking: Psychological Perspectives on Reasoning, Judgment and Decision Making. New York, NY: Wiley, p. 347-363.