Human Capital Multidisciplinary Research Center

5.1.2 Neurocognitive Decision-Making Mechanisms

Vladimir Spiridonov
Project Leader

Project period


Context of Research Project within a Subject of Human Capital

The relevance of studying neurocognitive mechanisms of decision-making is determined by their close connection with the main trends within the human potential study in order to develop it comprehensively. Among the rapidly developing areas of neurocognitive and psychological analysis, there is a notable research of decision-making mechanisms as one of the most important forms of human activity. Research shows that one of the most problematic foundations of the individual decision-making process, which often leads to mistakes, are naive theories of various natural, social, and psychological phenomena that guide people in the course of reasoning and forecasting, as well as setting their own goals. Such naïve ideas are called implicit theories or mental models. The importance of our research in this area is dictated by the fact that it is precisely such structures that underlie not only difficulties in understanding scientific theories among people receiving secondary or higher education (for example, the biological theory of evolution), but also adherence to irrational beliefs about the dangers of vaccination, the absence of global warming, a flat Earth, as well as faith into various conspiracy theories. Identifying both the mental models themselves that contribute to making erroneous decisions and the factors associated with them is an important task on the path of human development through recommendations to reduce the frequency of erroneous strategies of social behavior

Project Aim

Studying the fundamental aspects of decision-making and the factors influencing this process

Project Objectives:

  1. Analyzing the main trends in the study of mental models in modern cognitive psychology and in the field of neurocognitive research
  2. Preparing informative and methodological reviews of the current state of affairs
  3. Analyzing the role of mental models of creativity in the decision-making process and problem solving
  4. Preparing and implementing experimental studies of mental models of various types

Key Findings


Theoretical and methodological justifications have been developed to create a new paradigm of decision-making research, taking into account the peculiarities of the mental models being studied. The ways of integrating various methods of studying mental models have been proposed. The preparation and implementation of an experimental study devoted to the identification of mental models underlying irrational decisions has been carried out


The role of implicit theories of creativity in problem solving has been described. The variables within the self-description of creativity that contribute to and hinder the successful solution of tasks have been identified. With the help of new experimental paradigms, studies of the role of mental models in decision-making processes and problem solving of various types of problems have been implemented. Mental models that make it difficult to understand complex scientific concepts have been analyzed. Using the methods of eye-tracking, studies aimed at identifying patterns of overcoming uncertainty in the course of solving problems have been conducted


An experimental verification of the assumption of the insight phenomenon structural unity has been implemented on the basis of metacognitive assessments by the subjects of their own thought processes and the results of solving problems (10576 protocols for solving different types of mental problems). It has been established that insight is not a single construct. The first factor of the two-factor structure includes the following metacognitive variables: Pleasure, Relief, Excitement, Surprise, Confidence; the second: Surprise and Confidence. A one-factor solution is obtained when the variable Surprise is removed from the dataset. In this case, the remaining five variables satisfactorily (in a statistical sense) add up to a single construct.

The composition of two factors in the structure of the reaction according to the results of confirmatory factor analysis



V. Spiridonov, N. Loginov & V. Ardislamov (2021) Dissociation between the subjective experience of insight and performance in the CRA paradigm // Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 33:6-7, 685-699


School of young scientists Theoretical and Applied problems of Cognitive Psychology in Memory of K. Duncker (RU) (Povarovo, Russia, August 28-31, 2021).

International Conference on the Psychology of Problem Solving (RU) (Moscow, Russia, December 3, 2021)