What I do
I study how people make judgments and decisions; how these processes shape behavior at the individual, group, and organizational level; and how we can help people make better judgments and decisions. I investigate these questions with computational modeling and methods from the behavioral, cognitive, and neuro- sciences. When I’m not at my desk you can find me running, biking, rowing, or out in the woods. In a parallel world, I own my own bike shop in the Midwest.
COMPUTATIONAL DECISION SCIENCE
Decisions, almost by definition, link our thoughts to our actions. My research uses computational models to characterize this critical link forcing us to specify the mental processes (i.e., memory, learning, or reward evaluation) involved in making a decision, the environments those choices take place in, and the interaction between the person and the environment. By taking this approach, we develop a better understanding of how the mind works and formulate mathematical models to help individuals, groups, and organizations, make better decisions.
– Jane Beattie Scientific Research Award for Innovative Research, European Association for Decision Making, 2015
– National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2010
– Hillel Einhorn Young Investigator Award, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, 2008
Hertwig, R., Pleskac, T. J., Pachur, T, & the Center for Adaptive Rationality (2019). Taming Uncertainty. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA. https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/taming-uncertainty
Recent manuscripts and publications
Pleskac, T. J., Conradt, L., Lueker, C., & Hertwig, R. (invited for resubmission) The ecology of competition: A theory of risk-reward environments in adaptive decision making. Invited for resubmission at Psychological Review http://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/ewzcb
Leuker, C.*, Samartzidis, L., Hertwig, R., & Pleskac, T. J.† (under review). When money talks: Judging risk and coercion in high-paying clinical trials. http://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/9P7CB
Johnson, D., J., Pleskac, T. J., Terrill, W., Gagnon, G. & Cesario, J. Modeling Police Officers’ Deadly Force Decisions in an Immersive Shooting Simulator
Litvinova, A., Herzog, S. M., Krall, A. A., Pleskac, T. J., & Hertwig, R. (submitted) Boosting the accuracy of confidence judgments using the wisdom of the inner crowd: Ecological and empirical analyses.
Zdziarska, P.*, Yu, S.*, & Pleskac, T. J. (under revision) Mapping the time course of confidence judgments during facial recognition decisions.
Albrecht, R., Hoffman, J. A., Pleskac, T. J., Rieskamp, J., & von Helversen, B., (resubmitted). Unstacking Judgments: What Response Distributions Reveal About the Cognitive Process in Multiple-Cue Judgments.
Leuker, C.*, Pachur, T., Hertwig, R., & Pleskac, T. J.† (in press) Do People Exploit Risk–Reward Structures To Simplify Information Processing in Risky Choice? Journal of the Economic Science Association http:// 10.31234/osf.io/kjc3r
Dai, J.*, Pachur, T., Pleskac, T. J., & Hertwig, R. (in press). What the future holds and when: A description-experience gap in intertemporal choice. Psychological Science.
Leuker, C.*, Pachur, T., Hertwig, R., & Pleskac, T. J. (in press). Too good to be true? Psychological responses to surprising options in risk–reward environments. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. https://doi.org/10.1002/bdm.2116
Bhatia, S., & Pleskac, T. J. (2019). Preference accumulation as a process model of desirable ratings. Cognitive Psychology, 109, 47-67.
Pleskac, T. J., Yu, S.*, Hopwood, C., & Liu, T. (2019). Mechanisms of deliberation during preferential choice: Perspectives from computational modeling and individual differences. Decision, 6, 77-107. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/dec0000092
Schürman, O.*, Frey, R., & Pleskac, T. J.† (2019) Mapping risk perceptions in dynamic risk-taking environments Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 32, 94-105. https://doi.org/10.1002/bdm.2098
Johnson, D. J.*, Cesario, J., & Pleskac, T. J. (2018). How Prior Information and Police Experience Impacts Decisions to Shoot. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 115(4), 601-623. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspa0000130
Hertwig, R., & Pleskac. T. J. 2018). The construct-behavior gap and the description-experience gap: Comment on Regenwetter & Robinson (2017). Psychological Review, 125(5), 844-849. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/rev0000121
Dai, J.*, Pleskac, T. J., & Pachur T. (2018) Dynamic cognitive models of intertemporal choice. Cognitive Psychology, 104, 29-56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogpsych.2018.03.001
Leuker, C.*, Pachur, T., Hertwig, R., & Pleskac, T. J.† (2018). Exploiting risk-reward structures in decision making under uncertainty. Cognition, 175, 186-200. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2018.02.019
Pleskac, T. J., Cesario, J., & Johnson, D.J.* (2018). How race affects evidence accumulation during the decision to shoot. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-017-1369-6
Leuker, C.*, Pleskac, T. J., Pachur, T., & Hertwig, R. (2017). How the mind exploits risk-reward structures in decisions under risk. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
Dai, J.*, Pleskac, T. J., & Pachur, T., (2017). A dynamic tradeoff model of intertemporal choice. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
Kvam, P. D.*, & Pleskac, T. J. (2017). A quantum information architecture for cue-based heuristics. Decision, 4, 197–233. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/dec0000070
Johnson, D.*, Hopwood, C., Cesario, J., & Pleskac, T. J. (2017). Advancing research on cognitive processes in social and personality psychology: A drift diffusion model primer. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 8, 413–423.
Kvam, P. D.*, & Pleskac, T. J. (2016). Strength and weight: The determinants of choice and confidence. Cognition, 152, 170–180.
Uitvlugt, M. G., Pleskac, T. J., & Ravizza, S. M. † (2016). The nature of working memory gating in Parkinson’s Disease: A multi-domain signal detection examination. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 16, 289–301.
Pleskac, T. J., (2015). Learning models in decision making. In G. Keren & G. Wu (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Judgment & Decision Making (pp.629–657). Chichester, United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons.
Pleskac, T. J., Diederich, A., & Wallsten, T. S. (2015). Models of decision making under risk and uncertainty. In J. R. Busemeyer, J. T. Townsend, Z. J. Wang, & A. Eidels (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Computational and Mathematical Psychology (pp. 209–231). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Kvam, P. D.*, Pleskac, T. J., Yu, S.,* & Busemeyer, J. R. (2015). Interference effects of choice on confidence: Quantum characteristics of evidence accumulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112, 10645–10650.
Yu, S.*, Pleskac, T. J., & Zeigenfuse, M.* (2015). Dynamics of postdecisional processing of confidence. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144, 489–510.
Pleskac, T. J., & Hertwig, R. (2014). Ecologically rational choice and the structure of the environment. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143, 2000–2019.
Zeigenfuse, M.*, Pleskac, T. J., & Liu, T. (2014). Rapid decisions from experience. Cognition, 131, 181–194.
Pleskac, T. J., & Wershbale, A.* (2014). Making assessments while taking repeated risks: A pattern of multiple response pathways. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143, 142–162.
Order of authorship is in terms of contribution. I typically give students priority in authorship order.
* graduate student or post doc
† alternative ordering with last author being senior author
– Michigan State University, College of Social Science Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award, 2013
– University of Maryland Distinguished Teaching Assistant, 2002