Eric Stone

estone@wfu.edu
Professor of Psychology & Director of Graduate Studies
(336) 758-5729
Greene Hall 222

My research is in the field of judgment and decision making, which spans a wide range of areas, from
cognitive psychology to social psychology to other disciplines. Broadly, practitioners in the field of decision
making study both how people should make decisions and how they actually do go about making them. More
specifically, my research has focused on a number of applied issues; below I describe two of these issues in
which students have recently been involved. I would be glad to elaborate on any of these for those of you
who are interested.

Decision Making for Others vs. for the Self – Do people decide for (or advise) others the same way they
would make decisions for themselves? Our answer to this question is that it depends on the domain under
investigation. For financial decision making, people seem to decide similarly for themselves and for others.
However, for relationships, people tend to advise others to be more risk seeking than they themselves would
be, whereas in physical safety situations, people advise others to be more risk averse than they themselves
would be. We explain these differences in terms of social norms for how to decide for others and are
presently testing implications of this theory.

Communicating Risk Information – How can we present risk information in a way that will lead to more risk
averse behavior? For example, how can we get people to use condoms to help reduce the risk of AIDS?
Through a number of studies, we have documented ways of presenting risk information that appear to be
either effective or ineffective. In particular, in many situations graphical techniques appear to lead to more
risk-avoidant behavior than do non-graphical formats. The major focus of the present work is trying to
understand more precisely the mechanism(s) underlying these effects, as well as whether these effects result
from increased or decreased understanding of the risks involved.

Selected Publications

  • Stone, E.R., & Allgaier, L. (2008). A social values analysis of self-other differences in decision making
    involving risk. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 30, 114-129.
  • Stone, E.R., Sieck, W.R., Bull, B.E., Yates, J.F., Parks, S.C., & Rush, C.J. (2003). Foreground:background
    salience: Explaining the effects of graphical displays on risk avoidance. Organizational Behavior and
    Human Decision Processes, 90, 19-36.
  • Wray, L.D., & Stone, E.R. (2005). The role of self-esteem and anxiety in decision making for self versus
    others in relationships. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 18, 125-144.
  • Decision Making
  • Graduate Statistics
  • Methods of Psychological Research
  • First-Year Seminar on Life Perspectives