The Head and Heart of Decision Quality

Decision Quality is an old idea that has been with us since the 80’s. It has been slowly and incrementally advancing, with the last major contribution being from the Decision Education Foundation, when the “head and heart” distinction was added. It is time to deeply integrate the heart into Decision Quality rather than treat it as a separate idea.

David Matheson and I have worked on an upgrade to our beloved Decision Quality framework to bring it to the 21st century. We recently taught “The Head and Heart of Decision Quality” at Stanford University’s Professional Decision Analysis class (DA2), and here is the recording of the class. We recommend watching in hi-definition (click the “HD” icon) and in full screen mode (click the expand icon).

The DQ 2.0 Framework Slide can be used freely under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.


We treat the heart differently from fast, instinctive and emotional System 1 thinking (see Kahneman’s book, Thinking Fast and Slow). Instead, our approach is normative, bringing a new kind of rationality into the slower, deliberative and logical System 2 thinking – one that honors the heart. Most senior practitioners of Decision Analysis tend to know the importance of incorporating the heart. Our effort is motivated by the need to make this less of a dark art and more of a formal topic so it can be taught, nurtured and improved in our community of practice.

This is just the starting point of the effort to integrate head and heart into decision quality. We invite you to participate in the community discussion, share your stories and help us with this upgrade.