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Magda Osman

Magda Osman

Reader in Experimental Psychology, Queen Mary University of London


The ethos of my work has been to take a critical eye to well accepted views and challenge the status quo. As a result, my research interests cover a range of areas that include decision-making, learning, problem-solving, biases, risk and uncertainty, agency and control, and the unconscious. (see www.magda.osman.co.uk)

My research helps answer questions like: How do we make decisions in uncertain situation? Does our unconscious rule our behaviour?

For instance, my work has shown that when making complex decisions, we do best when we figure out what the underlying causal set up of the situation is. My work also shows that our belief in our ability to control the world around us helps to reduce our experiences of uncertainty, and helps improve our actual ability to control different situations. My work and that of my lab also helps to show that methods, such as nudges, designed to improve our decision-making are not reliable, are ethically problematic, and that the public have concerns about them, especially if the nudges are designed by government bodies compared to scientists.

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From This Author


To What Extent Are We Ruled by Unconscious Forces?

Sometimes when I ask myself why I’ve made a certain choice, I realize I don’t actually know. To what extent we are ruled by things we aren’t conscious of? – Paul, 43, London Why did...

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