Carnegie Mellon University

Center for Informed Democracy & Social - cybersecurity (IDeaS)

CMU's center for disinformation, hate speech and extremism online

IDeaS Center for Informed Democracy & Social-cybersecurity

19669  Behavior, Decision and Policy
Units: 12.0
Instructors: Fischhoff, Baruch
Schedule: TR 12:20PM-1:40PM  WEH 5312


Behavioral science can inform policy making in three ways: (a) improving two-way communication between the public and policy makers; (b) creating policies that make realistic assumptions about human behavior; (c) disciplining the expert judgment needed to analyze risks. The course will introduce and discuss the technical and ethical foundations of behavioral research and risk analysis, setting them in their historical, social, and political context. It will apply them to a wide variety of technology-related policies, including energy (e.g., conservation, nuclear power), environment (e.g., climate, pollution), health (e.g., vaccines, COVID-19), national security (e.g., terrorism, intelligence analysis), and others, including ones proposed by students. Students will acquire a critical perspective on policies in their lives, society, and profession. Course text (provided): B. Fischhoff J. Kadvany, Risk: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011); other readings. The course is open to juniors, seniors, and graduate students, who have not taken 84369/84669. Prerequisite: one course in statistics.