Special Issue Article
Decision-making Competence, Executive Functioning, and General Cognitive Abilities
Article first published online: 7 FEB 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making
Special Issue: Individual Differences in Decision-Making Competence
Volume 25, Issue 4, pages 331–351, October 2012
How to Cite
Del Missier, F., Mäntylä, T. and de Bruin, W. B. (2012), Decision-making Competence, Executive Functioning, and General Cognitive Abilities. J. Behav. Decis. Making, 25: 331–351. doi: 10.1002/bdm.731
- Issue published online: 6 AUG 2012
- Article first published online: 7 FEB 2011
Although previous studies investigated the relationship between general cognitive abilities and decision making, few have characterized specific cognitive abilities underlying decision-making competence. In this paper, we focus on executive functions—control processes involved in the regulation of cognition. Specifically, we report on an individual-differences study that investigated the relationship of executive functioning (EF) and general cognitive abilities (fluid intelligence and numeracy) with different aspects of decision-making competence. Individual differences in EF components explained aspects of decision-making competence even after controlling for fluid intelligence and numeracy. However, different aspects of decision-making competence varied in the extent to which they relied on different executive functions. In particular, resistance to framing effects, the ability to apply decision rules, and successful engagement in cognitive reflection partially depend on individual differences on the monitoring/inhibition dimension of EF. The ability to provide consistent judgments in risk perception is related to the shifting aspect of EF. The ability to recognize social norms and resistance to sunk costs were not significantly related to EF, thus supporting the idea that executive control is not a major determinant of these aspects of decision-making competence. Finally, substantial variance in some of the decision-making tasks remained unexplained, suggesting that other cognitive or non-cognitive abilities need to be considered in future studies. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.