Cognitive models

Cognitive Models

Brandwidth is a firm of
new Creative Scientists.

We look at the reality of consumer behavior
through new behavioral models.

Cognitive models Reveal what people mean and Explain how people behave.


Despite what classical economists assumed for years (that people act in perfectly rational ways when making economic decisions), it turns out that people are irrational actors and think about risk-taking in ways that are predictably biased.  The most famous element of prospect theory is the finding that "losses loom larger than gains."  That is, most people are loss-averse and are more hesitant to make a choice that would risk taking a small loss, even when a potentially large gain could be had.  In cases like these, people are much more likely to do nothing -- to stick with the status quo — or to chose an option that provides a small-but-certain gain


Intentional states such as beliefs and desires are relations between a thinker and symbolic representations of the content of the states. The thesis about reasoning, which we will call the Computational Account of Reasoning (CAR), depends essentially upon this prior claim that intentional states involve symbolic representations. The representations have both semantic and syntactic properties, and processes of reasoning are performed in ways responsive only to the syntax of the symbols— which means all mental acts can be simulated by computations


People are born with an innate sense of moral judgment, that infants are intuitive lawyers, and that everyone shares a basic sense of right and wrong.  There is data that is input to the moral judgment module from the environment about a particular act in a particular context. The module performs automatic computations over the data based on certain rules and the output of the module is a deontic status — a moral judgment — such as permissible, impermissible, forbidden, obligatory, etc.


A phenomenon can occur in two different ways, or as a result of two different processes: implicit (automatic), unconscious process, and an explicit (controlled), conscious process. Verbalized explicit processes or attitudes and actions may change with persuasion or education; though implicit process or attitudes usually take a long amount of time to change with the forming of new habits.


We have certain prior assumptions about the way things are in the world (which have been generated partly based on our experiences and partly based on our innate predispositions). As we gain new evidence, those prior assumptions are updated based on how good the evidence is. The question in psychology is this: are our minds doing Bayesian Reasoning to form and update beliefs and to make decisions.


When faced with a number of different choices, expected utility theory recommends that you calculate the expected utility of each choice and then choose the one with highest expected utility. It is a way to balance risk versus reward using a formal, mathematical function.


Disgust appears to play a role in moral judgment, moral conflict, and ethno-political violence. Its elicitors are a puzzle: it makes sense that we are disgusted by things that can contaminate our food, but why does this food-related emotion extend itself so deeply into our social world, so that people feel disgusted by certain ethnic groups (or by racism), by homosexuality (or by homophobia), and by a variety of social and moral violations that don’t involve anything physically contaminating?  

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We study human behavior to identify insights that drive growth.

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