Antonio Chessa, born in Delft, the Netherlands, in 1964. Ph.D. from Delft University. Research Fellow at the Department of Psychonomy, University of Amsterdam.
Fellow (1 September 2003 - 30 June 2004)
A COGNITIVE MODEL OF THE DECISION PROCESSES IN RESPONSE BEHAVIOUR
My work was carried out within the research theme of the Nucleus, "A New View on Survey Research". The central subject of research was the formalisation of response behaviour of respondents to survey questions. Response behaviour is the result of many processes, from the cognitive processes involved in the comprehension of a survey question to the selection of the final response. The objective of the research during my stay at NIAS was to develop a mathematical cognitive model for the decision processes that are involved in answering behaviour. The foundation of this research was laid by the Memory Chain Model, which was developed by Jaap Murre and myself at the Department of Psychonomy of the University of Amsterdam. This model formalises the processes of learning, forgetting and retrieval of information stored in the brain, which is inspired upon recent findings in neurobiology. The decision processes in answering behaviour refer to the interaction between the retrieval of information and the selection of the information on which the final response will be based. The resulting model has been applied to response time data for 'yes-no' factual questions of an environmental survey (paper written with co-Fellow Stasja Draisma). The results from statistical data analyses and model testing have given us an insight into the possible answering strategies of respondents on survey questions. A similar study, concerning response behaviour in attitudinal surveys, is in preparation (with co-Fellow Bregje Holleman). A separate, theoretical paper was written on the mathematical-cognitive model (the Memory Chain Model) and its implications for response behaviour.