American Journal of Bioethics.

Biases and Heuristics in Decision Making and Their Impact on Autonomy

Cognitive scientists have identified a wide range of biases and heuristics in human decision making over the past few decades. Only recently have bioethicists begun to think seriously about the implications of these findings for topics such as agency, autonomy, and consent. This article aims to provide an overview of biases and heuristics that have been identified and a framework in which to think comprehensively about the impact of them on the exercise of autonomous decision making. I analyze the impact that these biases and heuristics have on the following dimensions of autonomy: understanding, intentionality, absence of alienating or controlling influence, and match between formally autonomous preferences or decisions and actual choices or actions.

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Volume 16, Issue 5
May 2016