Welcome to the
Dynamic Decision Making Laboratory

The DDMLab was founded in 2002 by Prof. Cleotilde Gonzalez. Initially supported by a grant from the Army Research Laboratories (Advanced Decisions Architectures, Collaborative Technology Alliance), the DDMLab is a group fully funded by grants from research institutions such as National Science Foundation, Army Research Labs, Army Research Office, Defense Threat Reduction Agency and others. The laboratory is interdisciplinary, including post-docs and student from Behavioral Decision Research, Psychology, Engineering, and Computer Science.


We study how humans make choices, learn and use their experiences to make decisions in dynamic environments.

  • How does experience influence our decisions?
  • What kinds of experiences would produce better decisions and better adaptation?
  • How does experience transfer to new situations?

    We also study humans making decisions in a wide range of decision contexts that we bring to the laboratory in the form of dynamic simulations (MicroWorlds or DMGames)

  • How do operators of complex industrial plants make dynamic allocation of limited resources?
  • How luggage screeners at the airport can be more successful at detecting possible threatening targets?
  • How cyber-security analysts may improve their detection of cyber-attacks?

    Our driving theory is the Instance-Based Learning Theory (IBLT), which in essence proposes that people make choices by retrieving the best outcomes from their past experience. The process involves:

  • Retrieve memories (instances) that resemble the current situation (instances are triplets: situation-decision-utility)
  • Filter memories according to their maximum experienced expected value (utility or blended value)
  • Evaluate and store new instances reflecting each possible option in the decision situation
  • Select the option with the maximum blended value


    Carnegie Mellon University Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

    May 3rd, 2017
    Using psychology and decision making to study cybersecurity, Prof. Gonzalez was mentioned in the MURI Grant News.

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    NIST Forensics 2016

    November 2016
    Prof. Gonzalez gave a talk at the 2016 NIST Forensics on the human factors of forensic sciences and identification decisions. Check out the last video for Prof. Gonzalez’s talk.

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    The Best Schools

    September 2016
    Social Sciences at CMU are ranked #19 by The Best Schools.org based on Shanghai rankings. Dynamic Decision Making Laboratory is mentioned.

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