Every day, people are inundated with decisions, big and small. Understanding how people arrive at their choices is an area of cognitive psychology that has received attention. Theories have been generated and researches conducted to explain how people make decisions and what types of factors influence decision making in the present and future. Several factors influence decision making, these factors includes past experience, cognitive biases, age and individual differences, belief in personal relevance and an escalation of commitment, influence what choices people make. Understanding the factors that influence decision making process is important to understanding what decisions are made. The factors that influence the process impacts the outcomes of the decisions made.
People make decisions about many things. They make political decisions; personal decisions, including medical choices, career decisions and financial decisions, which may also include some of the other kinds of decisions and judgments. Quite often, the decision making process is fairly specific to the decision being made. Some choices are simple and seem straight forward, while others are complex and require a multi-step approach to making the decisions.
There are several important factors that influence decision making. Significant factors include past experiences, a variety of cognitive biases, an escalation of commitment and sunk outcomes, individual differences, including age and socioeconomic status, and a belief in personal relevance. These things all impact the decision making process and the decisions made. Past experiences can impact future decision making, past decisions influence the decisions people make in the future. It stands to reason that when something positive results from a decision, people are more likely to decide in a similar way, given a similar situation. This is significant to the extent that future decisions made based on past experiences are not necessarily the best decisions.