Psychology & Psychotherapy

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Decision-Making and Law

Normative Rationality or Evolutive Rationality?

Silvia Dell'Orco, Ph.D, is an Italian psychologist. Her research is conducted in the field of the psychology of reasoning and decision making, cognitive neuroscience and clinical psychology. She is author and co-author of many articles in scientific journals.

Theoretical studies and experimental research in the fields of psychology and cognitive neurosciences have demonstrated the role of unpredictability and uncertainty in decisions that individuals make in everyday life. The process of decision-making in the real world does not correspond to any formal model, even when it occurs in "ideal" conditions (e.g. after lengthy reflection or on the basis of available and pertinent information), but rather is conditioned by distorted representation, generated by a host of chaotic and fluctuating factors, making an optimal responses highly unlikely.

Research has shown that our brain does not use normative models of reasoning, but rather a sort of evolutive rationality, an ongoing process since the beginning of the species to be adaptively more effective. In addition, subjective and inter-individual factors also act on the decision: the willingness to take on the task; its risk assessment; the courage and personality of the decision-maker; his or her decision-making styles; the fear of possible future consequences; and more. Asymmetries between models of rational choice and the concrete behavior of people are evident also in the field of law, such as canon law – with its demonstration of consent, and in the matrimonial institution, which may be subject to coercive influences – as well as in other law-related areas. Expert contributors, from fields of neuroscience and psychology, examine the possible defects in the informal choice criteria – as determined by the interface and interference of cognitive and contextual elements in the evaluation of the problem to hand and of available information – in order to determine measurable degrees of certainty/uncertainty.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-912-8
Paperback Price: £22.95 / $29.95
Release Date: January 2018
Page Extent / Format: 112 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No



Silvia Dell’Orco

Optimizers versus Satisficers: Decision-making styles, heuristics and ecological rationality (Mauro Maldonato, Silvia Dell’Orco, Raffaele Sperandeo, Nicole Nascivera)

Decision-making and personality in clinical psychology (Raffaele Sperandeo, Daniela Iennaco, Mauro Maldonato, Silvia Dell’Orco)

Decision and free will between psychology and law (Luca Bartoli, Mauro Maldonato, Raffaele Sperandeo)

The importance of the decision-making factor in canonical marriage (Ciro Punzo)

The marriage consent invalidated by the person’s error (Ciro Punzo)

The role exercised by ignorance in the matrimonial institute. Social and educational profiles in the performance of consensus (Ciro Punzo)

The figure of the fraud in the matrimonial consensus (Ciro Punzo)

The importance of the error iuris in issuing the matrimonial consensus (Ciro Punzo)

In order to investigate the process of decision making, psychiatrists and psychologists examine some possible defects in matrimonial consent. Their topics include optimizers versus satisfiers: decision-making styles, heuristics, and ecological rationality; decision-making and personality in clinical psychology; the importance of the decision-making factor in canonical marriage; the role exercised by ignorance in the matrimonial institute: social and educational profiles in the performance of consensus; and the importance of the error iuris in issuing the matrimonial consensus.

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