Behavioral Decision-Making

CREATE’s behavioral decision-making researchers investigate the dynamic relationships between public response, societal consequences, and risk and crisis communication in the event of a disaster.

Our research improves understanding of how the public perceives the risk associated with disasters (both terror and non-terror) and behavioral decision-making. CREATE uses insights from psychology, economics, and other behavioral and social sciences to assess risk perceptions and associated decisions, as well as to design and evaluate risk communication and intervention to inform those decisions.


Wändi Bruine de Bruin

Wändi Bruine de Bruin is a Provost Professor of Public Policy, Psychology, and Behavioral Science. Across USC, she holds affiliations with the Sol Price School of Public Policy, the Department of Psychology, 

read more
Eli Berman

Eli Berman is a professor in the Department of Economics at the University of California, San Diego. He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research…

read more
Williams Burns

William Burns completed his Ph.D. at the University of Oregon in Decision Science and subsequently held positions as a professor at the University of Iowa and UC Davis before moving to San Diego…

read more
Robin Dillon-Merrill

Robin Dillon-Merrill is a Professor in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and Area Coordinator for the Operations and Information Management Group. Professor… 

read more
Scott Farrow

Scott Farrow is a Professor in the Department of Economics at UMBC, a branch of the University of Maryland and a Research Fellow at CREATE. Previously Dr. Farrow…

read more
Richard John

Richard John serves as the Associate Director for Research at CREATE, professor in the Department of Psychology at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at USC…

read more
Heather Rosoff

Heather Rosoff’s research focuses on using risk and decision analytic techniques to study the uncertainties surrounding terrorism. More specifically, her risk perception…

read more
Paul Slovic

Paul Slovic studies judgment and decision processes with an emphasis on decision making under conditions of risk. His work examines fundamental issues such as the influence of… 

read more
Detlof von Winterfeldt

Detlof von Winterfeldt is a Professor at the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering of the Viterbi School of Engineering and a Professor of Public Policy and Management…

read more

Sample Papers

Bruine de Bruin, W. and D. Bennett. In press.  “Relationships between initial COVID-19 risk perceptions and protective health behaviors: A national survey,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2020.05.001

Bruine de Bruin, W. In press.  “Age Differences In COVID-19 Risk Perceptions and Mental Health: Evidence From a National US Survey Conducted in March 2020,” Journal of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbaa074

Kapteyn, A., M. Angrisani, D. Bennett, W. Bruine de Bruin, J. Darling, T. Gutsche, Y. Liu, E. Meijer, F. Perez-Arce, S. Schaner, K. Thomas, and B. Weerman. 2020. “The CESR COVID-19 Task Force: Tracking the Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Lives of American Households,” Survey Research Methods 14: 179-186. doi: 10.18148/srm/2020.v14i2.7737 

von Winterfeldt, D., S. Farrow, R. John, J. Eyer, A. Rose, and H. Rosoff. 2020. “Assessing the Benefits and Costs of Homeland Security Research: A Risk-Informed Methodology with Applications for the U.S. Coast Guard,” Risk Analysis, 4(3)): 450-75.doi: 10.1111/risa.13403

Okan, Y., E.R. Stone, J. Parillo, W. Bruine de Bruin, and A.M. Parker. 2020. “Probability Size Matters: The Effect of Foreground-Only vs. Foreground+Background Graphs on Risk Aversion Diminishes with Larger Probabilities,” Risk Analysis 40: 771-788. doi: 10.1111/risa.13431

Thrift, S. and D. von Winterfeldt. 2020. “Risk Informed Benefit-Cost Analysis for Homeland Security RandD: Methodology and an Application to Evaluating the Advanced Personal Protection System for Wildland Firefighters,” Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, forthcoming.

Nagamatsu, S., A. Rose and J. Eyer. 2020. “Return Migration and Decontamination after the 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accidents,” Risk Analysis 40(4): 800-17

Bruine de Bruin, W, and Morgan, M.G. 2019.  “Reflections on an Interdisciplinary Collaboration to Inform Public Understanding of Climate Change, Mitigation, And Impacts,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116: 7676-7683. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1803726115 

Eyer, J., R. Dinterman, N. Miller, and A. Rose. 2018. “The Effect of Disasters on Migration Destinations: Evidence from Hurricane Katrina,” Economics of Disasters and Climate Change 2(1): 91-106.

Abbas, A., M. Tambe, and D. von Winterfeldt (Eds). 2017. Improving Homeland Security Decisions.  New York: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781316676714

Garcia, R. and D. von Winterfeldt. 2016. “Defender-Attacker Decision Tree Analysis to Counter Terrorism,” Risk Analysis 36(8): 1-14. doi: 10.1111/risa.12574

Siebert, J., D. von Winterfeldt, and R.S. John. 2015. “Identifying and structuring the Objectives of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Its Followers,” Decision Analysis 13(1): 1-100. doi: 10.1287/deca.2015.0324

Montibeller, G. and D. von Winterfeldt. 2015. “Cognitive and Motivational Biases in Decision and Risk Analysis,” Risk Analysis 35(7): 1230-1251. doi: 10.1111/risa.12360