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Dissertation Abstract

The Role of Value As an Antecedent to Cognitive Engagement

R. Bruce Moore
March 2009

Unless the brain connects a decision's paradigm with sufficient value, cognitive resources will not be allocated to engage in the search for a full set of alternatives, their consequences, and the values that evoke distinct preferences. Previous researchers have referred to the life experiences, the learning scenarios, and the environmental elements that influence people and organizations in cognitive engagement. For the purposes of this study, cognitive engagement will be dealt with in only one of its many subsets, specifically, making decisions. This study probes cognitive engagement as utilized in the decision-making process. The absence or presence of recognized patterns appear to influence processes of decision making toward a level of engagement between, respectively, a more rational choice and a highly recognizable pattern which influences toward a decision short-cut known as a heuristic. In turn, these behaviors of recognizing patterns are influenced by the values and systems of values of the decision maker that have been constructed, and continue to be constructed, in life as an open-system personal adventure. This study builds upon research on behavioral cognitive engagement, axiology, decision making, mental models, heuristics, bounded rationality, neurobiology, and defensiveness. The review of literature suggests a final model mediating engagement with the fortunate acronym ?VIA? may be: CE = f (V?I?A ). Cognitive Engagement is a function of Value Intensity mediating the Importance of Issues mediating the Attendance Intention. The ?value intensity? is a function of the actor's personal ranking of value.