In the broadest sense, a problem is a discrepancy between an actual current state and a desired future state. Examples are the givens in an algebra word problem and the correct answer, the engineering specifications for a new SUV and the finished model, and the clues and the correct answers in a crossword puzzle. Similarly, in the broadest sense, a decision is a choice among alternatives. Examples are guilty or not guilty for a jury, Mortgage X or Mortgage Y for a homebuyer, and Candidate A, B, or C for voters in an election. Social psychological theory and research on group problem solving and decision making abstracts from these examples by conducting laboratory experiments with simplified tasks, typically with college students. This theory and ...

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