Research Project

Accounting Expertise and Decision-Making through the Lens of Fuzzy-Trace Theory (FTT)


You are being asked to participate in a voluntary research study. The purpose of this study is to investigate relationships between professional expertise, cognition, and decision-making in complex task domains, such as Accounting, Finance and Economics. More specifically, we seek to understand the relation between numeracy and decision-making by experts and novices in these fields, explaining differences in numerical processing in terms of cognitive representations in memory.

Participating in this study will involve reading and answering questions about different financial annual ratios for companies (e.g., profitability, growth, management efficiency, leverage of a firm). You will be asked to analyze these numbers, draw comparisons and make some decisions. We will also include some open-ended questions and talk-aloud protocols to assess the kinds of strategies and reasons for solving these decision problems. Your participation will last 1 hour.

The proposed procedures are generally innocuous and commonly used in cognitive and educational research. Since risks related to this research include fatigue from an extended testing, you will be allowed to take a short break halfway. Possible risks from the studies are fatigue from an extended testing session or uneasiness from performing below your own personal expectations. Benefits related to this research include helping to explain expertise-related costs as well as benefits that have been documented in a number of fields. By understanding the cognitive mechanisms and memory representations, and leveraging expertise, we can design better accounting curricula and career development plans for novices in fields as accounting/finance.


If you are studying or have studied in fields of Accounting or Finance, we invite you to participate in this research study related to decision-making and memory in these fields. You will evaluate scenarios of different companies and make some decisions. This online experiment will take approximately 1 hour via Zoom and as a compensation, you will receive a $10 Amazon e-gift card.

Please contact – Renato F. L. Azevedo –


The study was approved by the UIUC IRB under the protocol #19600

Principal Investigator Name and Title: Prof. Dan Morrow

Department and Institution: Educational Psychology / Beckman Institute