Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
320 Hardin Administration Building
ACU Box 29103
Abilene, Texas 79699-9103
New in Reasearch
Dr. Ryan Jessup, Assistant Professor of Marketing
Dr. Jessup is interested in decisions. What causes people to choose poorly? How do learning and contextual factors influence choice? In seeking to answer these questions, his research uses psychological models of motivation to distill the computational properties of decision making. Computational modeling enhances research by requiring precision in theory formulation and constraining predictions.
One of Dr. Jessup’s primary streams of research concerns the behavioral differences between decisions when options are completely described vs. decisions when options must be learned about via experience. Prior research found that individuals choose quite differently between the two paradigms but the reasons underlying the difference are poorly understood. One of Dr. Jessup’s studies demonstrated that the reception of feedback overwhelms descriptive information, driving the behavioral differences between paradigms. This work has led him and his colleagues (including Dr. John Homer and undergraduate researcher Allison Phillips) to build a new model that merges sophisticated decision making mechanisms with reinforcement learning in order to successfully predict behavior in both paradigms better than existing models. Dr. Jessup has previously received Cullen awards for this work and is currently seeking external funding to continue this fascinating line of research.