Gender Differences in Decision Making Processes: a Computerized Experiment.

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Gender Differences in Decision Making Processes: A Computerized Experiment.

Eduardo Missri Honors Seminar 02/11/08

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the differences between men and women in foreign policy decision making. The study focuses on the differences in biases in decision making, the differences between satisficing and maximizing approaches by both genders, the differences between strategy selection, and the difference between holistic and nonholistic decision making by both genders. The findings demonstrate, that both men and women have similarities and differences in various aspects of the decision making process. The importance of these findings is also discussed in this paper.

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Introduction Women and men have always had vast differences between themselves in many aspects. The physical aspect is the most noticeable one, where we can clearly see the differences between both sexes. In the modern world, gender equality is growing and people tend to see men and women as equal. This has created an erroneous perception that women and men are the same. As equality between the sexes has had an important advancement in human kind itself, clear differences between men and women have created the perception, that males and females are the same and most importantly think the same. Various studies (Schubert, Conner, Hoag, and Goldstein et al.) have shown contradicting evidence when trying to prove the differences amongst genders. Some psychological studies contradict neurological research and vice versa. In this paper I will attempt to discover differences and/or similarities between genders in decision making processes in order to further examine if these differences may affect practical situations and the role that gender plays in such processes.

Decision making theories such as rational choice are utilized in order to explain how humans make decisions and they also explain the process by which people go through in order to reach certain decisions. Women and men however, are different from one another, thus, one can only assume that the process by which decisions are taken could possibly vary between the sexes. Decision making and foreign policy have long been the basis by which governments survive, succeed or fail in global affairs. Politics (as well as other areas of study), have for long secluded women from participating actively in the decision making processes of the nation-state affairs. Even though women have been

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more equal to men than ever before, their active participation in decision making is generally low in most countries of the world.

In this paper, I will present and compare, the findings of two experiments conducted with Decision Board Computerized Process Tracing. The goal of this paper is to test the different neurological, psychological, sociological, and economical studies in a foreign policy social science experiment. The aim is to try to determine if there are any real differences between men and women in decision making processes. The experiments focus on comparing the ability to maximize choices, the differences in biases of decision between both sexes, differences in the process of decision strategies and task complexity (alternative or dimension based), and a comparison in holistic approaches between both genders. With Decision Board computerized process tracing, it is possible to trace the process and pattern of decision making of subjects conducting these experiments and thus check for differences among genders.

Theory Multidisciplinary dilemma Distinctions between men and women have been found in many areas of study. There have been wide discussions on the subject on whether men and woman are in fact more different or more similar to each other. Many neurological, psychological, economical and sociological experiments have demonstrated clear differences between men and women, while other studies of the same nature have found no differences and...
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