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Comparative Decision Making$
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Thomas R. Zentall and Philip H. Crowley

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199856800

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199856800.001.0001

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Poor Decisions About Security

Poor Decisions About Security

(p.319) Chapter 11 Poor Decisions About Security
Comparative Decision Making

Bruce Schneier

Deric Miller

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers security issues. It begins with rational choice theory, a cost-benefit framework for balancing the trade-offs associated with security. The fast and intuitive system 1 from dual process theory has had a dominant role in security over evolutionary time to enable rapid responses to dangerous situations; heuristics are commonly invoked, often leading to biased decisions inappropriate for addressing contemporary security issues. People differ in tolerance for risk or ambiguity and in risk perception, typically with little actual knowledge of risk magnitude, despite available data. Much of the chapter documents a large number of heuristics and biases characteristic of human reasoning that can undermine security decision making, often because we are predisposed to overestimate certain kinds of danger and underestimate others. Also, the many security decisions made by groups often become biased by group dynamics and may be dominated by externalities, in which the decision maker is invulnerable to the implications of the decisions.

Keywords:   security, rational choice theory, rapid response, heuristics, risk perception, bias, group dynamics

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