Ameliorating mental mistakes in tradeoff studies

Eric D. Smith, Jun Son Young, Massimo Plattelli-Palmarinl, A. Terry Bahill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Tradeoff studies are broadly recognized and mandated as the method for simultaneously considering multiple alternatives with many criteria, and as such are recommended in the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Decision Analysis and Resolution (DAR) process. Tradeoff studies, which involve human numerical judgment, calibration, and data updating, are often approached with under confidence by analysts and are often distrusted by decision makers. The decision-making fields of Judgment and Decision Making, Cognitive Science and Experimental Economics have built up a large body of research on human biases and errors in considering numerical and criteria-based choices. Relationships between experiments in these fields and the elements of tradeoff studies show that tradeoff studies are susceptible to human mental mistakes: This paper indicates ways to eliminate the presence, or ameliorate the effects of mental mistakes on tradeoff studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-240
Number of pages19
JournalSystems Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Alternative solutions
  • Cognitive biases
  • Combining functions
  • Decision analysis
  • Evaluation criteria
  • Evaluation data
  • Preferred alternatives
  • Problem statement
  • Scores
  • Scoring functions
  • Trade studies
  • Tradeoff studies
  • Weights of importance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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