Deconstructing Uncertainty

How do humans make choices under uncertainty?

Project title

The construction of confidence in human decision making (HREC 1954681.1)


This project aims to understand how confidence in human decision making is affected by the absence of immediate feedback after each choice, how people value feedback in the process of building confidence, and what is the potential association between personality traits and confidence. The project is funded by the University of Melbourne.

This project has been approved by The University of Melbourne’s Human Research Ethics Committee.

What will I be asked to do?

Should you agree to participate you will be asked to finish two decision tasks: a perceptual decision task and an economic decision task. The tasks will be clearly explained to you and you will have a chance to practice before the actual experiment. During the actual experiment, the computer program will record your choices during the task, your willingness to pay for feedback information and your subjective evaluation of your performance. After completing the two decision tasks, you will be asked to complete six questionnaires measuring different aspects of your personality.

The estimated time of commitment will be about 2 hours. Participation in this study is completely voluntary and the information collected will remain confidential. You will receive between $10 to $60 for your participation. Part of the payment will depend on your performance in the both decision tasks.

How will my confidentiality be protected?

This is an anonymous study. We will protect the confidentiality of your responses to the fullest possible extent, within the limits of the law. Only participant codes will be used in the storage of data. The data will be kept securely in the Department of Finance for a minimum of five years from the date of final publication. Your experimental data may be used in related future research conducted by members of the Department of Finance.

How will I receive feedback?

Results of the study will be available from the researchers’ websites, be presented at conferences and be published in peer-reviewed journals.

Will participation prejudice me in any way?

Please be advised that your participation in this study is completely voluntary. Should you wish to withdraw at any stage, or withdraw any unprocessed data you have supplied, you are free to do so without prejudice. If you are a student at the University of Melbourne, your grades will not be affected if you participate, decline to participate or withdraw from this project at any stage.

Where can I get further information?

If you would like to receive more information about the project, please contact the researchers at or 03 9035 9950.

This research project follows the guidelines of the National Health and Medical Research Council Statement on Human Experimentation. It has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of The University of Melbourne. If you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of this research project, which you do not wish to discuss with the research team, you should contact the Manager, Human Research Ethics, Research Ethics and Integrity, University of Melbourne, VIC 3010 (phone: +61 3 8344 2073, email: All complaints will be treated confidentially. In any correspondence please provide the name of the research team or the name or ethics ID number of the research project.

How do I agree to participate?

If you decide to participate and are aged between 18 and 35 years old, please sign up for an experimental session here. Please note that if you have already participated in one of our projects that involved "knapsack tasks" then you may not be eligible to participate in this project. Feel free to contact us at if you are unsure.

Human ethics approval

This study has been approved by the University of Melbourne Human Research Ethics Committee (project ID: HREC 1954681.1).

Brain, Mind and Markets Lab
Department of Finance 
The University of Melbourne 
Victoria 3010  
Phone: +61 3 9035 9950