Decision is the cognitive process leading to the selection a course of action among alternatives. Every decision-making process produces a final choice called decision. It can be an action or an opinion. It begins when we need to do something but we do not know what. Therefore, decision-making is a reasoning process which can be rational or irrational, and can be based on explicit assumptions or tacit assumptions. Common examples include, deciding what to eat, and deciding whom or what to vote for in an election or referendum.
Decision making is said to be a psychological construct. This means that although we can never "see" a decision, we can infer from observable behaviour that a decision has been made. Therefore, we conclude that a psychological event that we call "decision making" has occurred. It is a construction that imputes commitment to action. That is, based on observable actions, we assume that people have made a commitment to affect the action.
There are several basic kinds of decisions.
1. Decisions whether
This is the yes/no, either/or decision that must be made before we proceed with the selection of an alternative. Should I buy a new TV? Should I travel this summer? Decisions whether are made by weighing reasons pro and con.
2. Decisions whichThese decisions involve a choice of one or more alternatives from among a set of possibilities, the choice being based on how well each alternative measures up to a set of predefined criteria.
3. Contingent decisions
These are decisions that have been made but put on hold until some condition is met. For example, I have decided to buy that car if I can get it for the right price; I have decided to write that article if I can work the necessary time for it into my schedule.
Most people carry around a set of already made, contingent decisions, just waiting for the right conditions or opportunity to arise. Time, energy, price, availability, opportunity, encouragement--all these factors can figure into the necessary conditions that need to be met before we can act on our decision.
Structured rational decision making is an important part of all science-based professions, where specialists apply their knowledge in a given area to making informed decisions. For example,medical decision making often involves making a diagnosis and selecting an appropriate treatment. Some research using naturalistic methods shows, however, that in situations with higher time pressure, higher stakes, or increased ambiguities, experts useintuitive decision making rather than structured approaches, following a recognition primed decision approach to fit a set of indicators into the expert's experience and immediately arrive at a satisfactory course of action without weighing alternatives.
Due to the large number of considerations involved in many decisions, decision support systems have been developed to assist decision makers in considering the implications of various courses of thinking. They can help reduce the risk of human errors. The systems which try to realize some human/cognitive decision making functions are called Intelligent Decision Support Systems (IDSS)