The role of imagination in decision-making

Mind and Language 31 (1):126-142 (2016)

Bence Nanay
University of Antwerp
The psychological mechanism of decision-making has traditionally been modeled with the help of belief-desire psychology: the agent has some desires (or other pro-attitudes) and some background beliefs and deciding between two possible actions is a matter of comparing the probability of the satisfaction of these desires given the background beliefs in the case of the performance of each action. There is a wealth of recent empirical findings about how we actually make decisions that seems to be in conflict with this picture. My aim is to outline an alternative model that is consistent with these empirical findings. This alternative model emphasizes the role imagination plays in our decisions: when we decide between two possible actions, we imagine ourselves in the situation that we imagine to be the outcome of these two actions and then compare these two imaginings.
Keywords imagination  order effect  belief-desire psychology  framing effect
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2016
DOI 10.1111/mila.12097
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 43,836
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Action in Perception.Alva Noë - 2005 - MIT Press.
The Empirical Case for Two Systems of Reasoning.Steven A. Sloman - 1996 - Psychological Bulletin 119 (1):3-22.

View all 47 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

De Se Preferences and Empathy for Future Selves1.L. A. Paul - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 31 (1):7-39.
Interface Problems in the Explanation of Action.Daniel C. Burnston - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (2):242-258.
Parental Choices and the Prospect of Regret: An Alternative Account.Katrien Schaubroeck & Kristien Hens - 2017 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25 (5):586-607.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
158 ( #47,833 of 2,265,147 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
20 ( #39,676 of 2,265,147 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature