New research on precommitment devices and reminder strategies

I have been involved in two recent collaborative research projects on how decision-makers reflect on their own cognition and behaviour. The first was in the context of financial decision-making and pre-commitment strategies, while the second is about the use of reminders to work around limits in memory or attention.

Preference reversals and precommitment in nicotine dependence

With Alexander Soutschek and Charlotte Wittekind of Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, we explored a hypothesis that smokers might be less aware of their own temporal preferences and hence less likely to adopt pre-commitment strategies when these strategies were needed.

The paper, published in Scientific Reports, can be found here.

How and when do children understand the logic of reminders for overcoming memory limits?

In this project with Kristy Armitage, Thomas Suddendorf, Amalia Bastos, Alex Taylor, and Jonathan Redshaw, we explored how and when children would start to understand the logic of reminders and apply the behaviour in novel contexts. Overall we found amazing flexibility in children’s use of reminders, illustrating a growing awareness of how to overcome cognitive limits in memory or attention.

The paper, published in Developmental Psychology, can be found here.

And for good measure, here’s a tweet thread summarising some of the unexpected behaviours we observed in the study…