Ola Svenson

Professor emeritus

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Arbetar vid Psykologiska institutionen
Telefon 08-16 28 79
Besöksadress Frescati hagväg 14
Postadress Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

Om mig

 Ola Svenson, Professor emeritus och Senior Research Scientist vid Decision Research, Eugene Oregon, USA.

För information se profilen på engelska.


 Jag handleder studenters vetenskapliga arbeten på alla nivåer. 


Ola Svenson

Professor emeritus

Texten här är densamma som i den engelska versionen.

Main research interests

Ola Svenson is the head of the Risk Analysis, Social and Decision Research Unit.

He is also associated with Decision Research, Oregon USA as a Senior Research Scientist, His main research interests cover basic and applied research in human cognition, decision processes, risk- and accident analysis and social psychology.

His publications can be found at

Ola Svenson's current research is focused on the following themes and projects.

Current research projects

  1. Human decision processes before and after a decision, Diff Con theory.

  2. Psychological reactions when it becomes clear that a decision was wrong.

  3. Cognitive and emotional reactions when a decision turns out to be in conflict with peers or experts.

  4. Decision maker competency and relations between biased judgments: individual differences.

  5. Safety management and incident analysis

  6. Driver cognition

  7. Economic psychology

  8. Traffic safety

  9. Process tracing of decision and judgment processes.

  10. Risk perception

Examples of collaborating institutions

  • Decision Research, Eugene, Oregon, USA

  • Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, Linköping, Sweden

  • Lund University, Lund, Sweden

            Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands

            Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • 2016. Pär Bjälkebring (et al.). Emotion 16 (3), 381-386

    Decisions were sampled from 108 participants during 8 days using a web-based diary method. Each day participants rated experienced regret for a decision made, as well as forecasted regret for a decision to be made. Participants also indicated to what extent they used different strategies to prevent or regulate regret. Participants regretted 30% of decisions and forecasted regret in 70% of future decisions, indicating both that regret is relatively prevalent in daily decisions but also that experienced regret was less frequent than forecasted regret. In addition, a number of decision-specific regulation and prevention strategies were successfully used by the participants to minimize regret and negative emotions in daily decision making. Overall, these results suggest that regulation and prevention of regret are important strategies in many of our daily decisions.

  • 2016. Ola Svenson. Journal of Cognitive Psychology 28 (7), 884-898

    This contribution presents a review and a theoretical process framework for human intuitive numerical judgments based on numerical information, The NJP model. The model is descriptive and includes one or several of the following stages, each consisting of information processing and solution strategies (1) problem readings (2) recognitions, (3) associations, (4) similarity assessments, (5) problem interpretations, (6) computations, (7) marker nominations, (8) start value selections and (9) adjustments. three main types of strategies are used separately, in sequence or simultaneously with others in and across stages: (i) Associative strategies, e.g., an answer is retrieved immediately, (ii) Computational strategies, different algorithms are applied to the information and (iii) Analogue strategies, visual analogue representations, e.g., anchoring and adjustment. The paper concludes that a generic model of intuitive judgments will inspire further studies of the psychological processes activated when a judge makes an intuitive numerical judgment.

  • 2015. Gabriella Eriksson (et al.). Ergonomics 58 (12), 1939-1946

    The time saving bias predicts that the time saved when increasing speed from a high speed is overestimated, and underestimated when increasing speed from a slow speed. In a questionnaire, time saving judgements were investigated when information of estimated time to arrival was provided. In an active driving task, an alternative meter indicating the inverted speed was used to debias judgements. The simulated task was to first drive a distance at a given speed, and then drive the same distance again at the speed the driver judged was required to gain exactly three minutes in travel time compared to the first drive. A control group performed the same task with a speedometer and saved less than the targeted three minutes when increasing speed from a high speed, and more than three minutes when increasing from a low speed. Participants in the alternative meter condition were closer to the target. The two studies corroborate a time saving bias and show that biased intuitive judgements can be debiased by displaying the inverted speed.

  • 2014. Nichel Gonzalez, Ola Svenson. Polish Psychological Bulletin 45 (1), 29-35

    Previous research showed that accumulations of capital following stationary interest rates are underestimated byhuman judges. Hyperbolic discounting was suggested as a descriptive and explanatory model for this phenomenon. First,we investigated judged accumulated capital after a period of annual growth and decline. The degree of underestimationincreased with accumulated growth and the results supported hyperbolic discounting as a descriptive model on the grouplevel. However, the hyperbolic model did not apply to the data for one third of the participants. Second, we investigatedhow investment decisions were related to capital accumulation before the investments and to judgments of the possibleoutcomes of the future investments. To our surprise, the participants’ judgments of expected future accumulated capitaldid not add predictive power to predictions based on whether there was growth or decline before the investment decision.Unfortunately this strategy leads to suboptimal investment decisions.

  • 2014. Ola Svenson, Nichel Gonzalez, Gabriella Eriksson. Judgment and decision making 9 (5), 465-478

    Svenson (2011) showed that choices of one of two alternative productivity increases to save production resources (e.g., man-months) were biased. Judgments of resource savings following a speed increase from a low production speed linewere underestimated and following an increase of a high production speed line overestimated. The objective formula for computing savings includes differences between inverse speeds and this is intuitively very problematic for most people.The purpose of the present studies was to explore ways of ameliorating or eliminating the bias. Study 1 was a control study asking participants to increase the production speed of one production line to save the same amount of production resources(man-months) as was saved by a speed increase in a reference line. The increases judged to match the reference alternatives showed the same bias as in the earlier research on choices. In Study 2 the same task and problems were used as in Study 1,but the participants were asked first to judge the resource saving of the reference alternative in a pair of alternatives before they proceeded to the matching task. This weakened the average bias only slightly. In Study 3, the participants were askedto judge the resources saved from each of two successive increases of the same single production line (other than those of the matching task) before they continued to the matching problems. In this way a participant could realize that a secondproduction speed increase from a higher speed (e.g., from 40 to 60 items /man-month) gives less resource savings than the same speed increase from a first lower speed (e.g., from 20 to 40 items/man-month. Following this, the judgments of thesame problems as in the other studies improved and the bias decreased significantly but it did not disappear. To be able to make optimal decisions about productivity increases, people need information about the bias and/or reformulations of the problems.

  • 2014. Ola Svenson, Tadeusz Tyszka. Polish Psychological Bulletin 45 (1), 1-2

    Even though, we all want to use the information that is available to us in an optimal way when we make decisions, we are not always able to do so. This is particularly true for intuitive unaided decisions and therefore the set of six papers in this special issue section investigate some of these shortcomings and gives us some hints as how to overcome them. Decisions concern the future but in many contexts what will happen in the future is not certain and different outcomes could follow a decision. Hence, many decisions have to be taken under risk and uncertainty, which is the main theme of the papers of this section. Because, the uncertainty of the future is often described by probabilities of different outcomes and consequences of a decision, the papers in this section have studied different aspects of probability from a psychological process perspective. The section covers the following. (1) A critical realist perspective on decisions involving risk and uncertainty, (2) format dependent probabilities and additivity neglect,(3) information acquisition patterns in risky choice framing, (4) biased judgments of asset cumulation and investment decisions, (5) the confidence-frequency effect: a heuristic explanation, and (6) belief in others' trustworthiness and trusting behavior.

Visa alla publikationer av Ola Svenson vid Stockholms universitet

Senast uppdaterad: 9 mars 2018

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