Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 21, Iss. 3, July, 2017, pp. 267-288
@2017 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


The Role of Dysfunctional Myths in a Decision-Making Process under Bounded Rationality: A Complex Dynamical Systems Perspective

Dimitrios Stamovlasis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Julie Vaiopoulou, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece

Abstract: The present study examines the factors influencing a decision-making process, with specific focus on the role of dysfunctional myths (DM). DM are thoughts or beliefs that are rather irrational, however influential to people’s decisions. In this paper a decision-making process regarding the career choice of university students majoring in natural sciences and education (N=496) is examined by analyzing survey data taken via Career Decision Making Difficulties Questionnaire (CDDQ). The difficulty of making the choice and the certainty about one’s decision were the state variables, while the independent variables were factors related to the lack of information or knowledge needed, which actually reflect a bounded rationality. Cusp catastrophe analysis, based on both least squares and maximum likelihood procedures, showed that the nonlinear models predicting the two state variables were superior to linear alternatives. Factors related to lack of knowledge about the steps involved in the process of career decision-making, lack of information about the various occupations, lack of information about self and lack of motivation acted as asymmetry, while dysfunctional myths acted as bifurcation factor for both state variables. The catastrophe model, grounded in empirical data, revealed a unique role for DM and a better interpretation within the context of complexity and the notion of bounded rationality. The analysis opens the nonlinear dynamical systems (NDS) perspective in studying decision-making processes. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Keywords: bounded rationality, dysfunctional myths, irrational thoughts, cusp catastrophe, decision making, CDDQ, career decisions