A couple of months ago I decided to fly home in summer after the spring term because I would like to see my son as he would fly to Australia for his study and the other son would take a test for another scholarship and it had been about 7 months I did not go home. It seemed simple to decide in the beginning but I found there were several factors to take into account. First, about the dates so that I could meet them all together; second, it should be after the Spring Term; next, I should get the cheapest airfare and shortest flight; and finally, I should be able to fly back to Texas before my presentation at ALA conference in June. In addition, I also considered the invitations to speak in discussions, seminars and a conference–things that I could do during my stay in my home country so that my stay would be beneficial not only for me but also for others.
The first thing I did was finding out the exact dates of my sons’ activities, scheduling some invitations for discussions, seminars, and conferences in my country. Then I looked for relevant information of flight schedule that would fit with my activities while in Indonesia and it would comply with the scholarship’s terms and condition which said that I should not leave the U.S. more than 30 days.
Deciding which flight schedule requires another decision-making process as I had to choose the cheapest airfare, shortest time with few stop overs, and I should land in the capital city of Indonesia in the afternoon so that I wouldn’t need to stay in a hotel but I can directly fly to my city. Prior to this process, I also had to decide which service that I took to buy an airline ticket and it resulted in my best option: I chose Priceline because I had used this online service before and considered it as the most reliable. Luckily, I got the most suitable flight schedule that fit my plan: It was the cheapest flight I ever got and the fastest flight I would take, although my return flight wouldn’t be the best one as I should spend 12 hours in San Francisco before departing to Dallas.
Making a decision is a process to construct a set of criteria and strategies in order to choose a decision out of some alternatives (Wang & Ruhe, 2007, p. 78). Wang and Ruhe (2007) further stated that decision-making is considered as “one of the basic cognitive processes of human behaviors by which a preferred option or a course of actions is chosen from among a set of alternatives based on certain criteria” (Wang & Ruhe, 2007, p. 83). It should also be noted that selecting an option adaptively among several or many actions needs a cost-benefit analysis (Kool, W., McGuire, Rosen, Botvinick, 2010) and “selecting an adequate choice entails constant updating and integrating of information about the value of present and potential actions as well as future states pertaining to current needs” (Hulka, et al., 2014, p. 1015). Therefore, even deciding to do a simple thing sometimes needs some considerations.
Having relevant information may result in a good decision with maximum expected and desirable outcomes Goldstein (2011). That means that before making a decision, we need to know the basics or reasons of doing something. Wang & Ruhe (2007) also mentioned that “the first step in the cognitive process of decision making is to understand the given decision-making problem” (p. 80).
As stated earlier, my decision-making problem is that I would like to fly home to meet my sons and hold some activities at a certain time frame and still comply with the scholarship terms and condition and finally I had made the decision that fulfill all of them and I feel satisfied. In fact, Decision-making is said to be rational if it maximizes benefit or utility (Kidd, Plameri, & Aslin, 2013).
Goldstein, E. (2011). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research, and everyday experience. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage.
Hulka, L., Eisenegger, C., Preller, K., Vonmoos, M., Jenni, D., Bendrick, K., Baumgartner, M., Seifritz, E., Quednow, B. (2014). Altered social and non-social decision-making in recreational and dependent cocaine users. Psychological Medicine, 44, 1015–1028.
Kidd, C., Palmeri, H., & Aslin, R. (2012). Rational snacking: Young children’s decision-making on the marshmallow task is moderated by beliefs about environmental reliability. Cognition, 126(1), 109 – 114.
Kool, W. McGuire, W., Rosen, Z., & Botvinick, M. (2010). Decision making and the avoidance of cognitive demand. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 139(4), 665–682.
Wang, Y. & Ruhe, G. (2007). The Cognitive Process of Decision Making. International Journal of Cognitive, Informatics, and Natural Intelligence, 1(2), 73-85.