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Front Psychol. 2013 Sep 24;4:658. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00658. eCollection 2013.

Predicting individual differences in decision-making process from signature movement styles: an illustrative study of leaders.

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Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group, Naval War College Newport, RI, USA.


There has been a surge of interest in examining the utility of methods for capturing individual differences in decision-making style. We illustrate the potential offered by Movement Pattern Analysis (MPA), an observational methodology that has been used in business and by the US Department of Defense to record body movements that provide predictive insight into individual differences in decision-making motivations and actions. Twelve military officers participated in an intensive 2-h interview that permitted detailed and fine-grained observation and coding of signature movements by trained practitioners using MPA. Three months later, these subjects completed four hypothetical decision-making tasks in which the amount of information sought out before coming to a decision, as well as the time spent on the tasks, were under the partial control of the subject. A composite MPA indicator of how a person allocates decision-making actions and motivations to balance both Assertion (exertion of tangible movement effort on the environment to make something occur) and Perspective (through movements that support shaping in the body to perceive and create a suitable viewpoint for action) was highly correlated with the total number of information draws and total response time-individuals high on Assertion reached for less information and had faster response times than those high on Perspective. Discussion focuses on the utility of using movement-based observational measures to capture individual differences in decision-making style and the implications for application in applied settings geared toward investigations of experienced leaders and world statesmen where individuality rules the day.


decision-making; hypothetical scenarios; individual differences; movement pattern analysis; observational methods

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