Pathways in decision making

Complexity in decision making: improving the quality of decisions (HREC 1749626.1)


The aim of this study is to understand how humans solve complex optimisation problems. This project has been approved by The University of Melbourne’s Human Research Ethics Committee, and is internally funded by The University of Melbourne.

What I will be asked to do?

Should you agree to participate, you will complete a computer task. For each trial of the task, you will be asked to solve a problem, which will involve filling a knapsack by selecting from a set of items those items maximise the knapsack’s value. You will select items by using the mouse. Following completion of the task, you will be asked to complete a set of questionnaires.

The estimated time of commitment will be about 90 minutes. Participation in this study is completely voluntary and the information collected will remain strictly confidential. You will receive between $30 and $80 for your participation. The payment will be higher the better you perform the task.

How will my confidentiality be protected?

Any identifiable data which you provide will be stored in password-protected files, and will only be accessed by the researchers. The information you provide will be safeguarded subject to any legal requirements, and will be destroyed at least 5 years after final publication of results. Any publications or presentations resulting from this study will be based on de-identified data only.

What if I want to withdraw from the research?

Participation in this research is completely voluntary. You are free to withdraw at any time and to withdraw any unprocessed data previously supplied. This would have no effect on your relationship with any member of the Department of Finance at the University of Melbourne. It would not affect your grades, assessment or any treatment that you would otherwise be eligible for.

Where can I get further information?

If you have not understood any of this information, please contact us at This research project 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. Tel: +61 3 8344 2073 or 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.

Please note that if you have previously taken part in one of our “Knapsack” or “Problem-solving” experiments, you cannot sign up for this experiment.  Feel free to email if you are unsure.

How Do I Agree to Participate?

If you decide to participate, please sign up for an experimental session here.

Human ethics approval

This study has been approved by the University of Melbourne Human Research Ethics Committee (project ID: HREC: 1749626.1).

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