Switching, psychology and DME

Now that I have introduced myself I will address different threads in different
posts. This post is regarding the DME thread (mostly between Bob Clark and
the Powers).

Bob: Marcia Johnson, a psychologist at Princeton, has a program of research
focusing on how we know whether something actually happened versus we just
imagined it. Just knowing that we can error can be a social benefit. "Okay, I
remember thinking about telling you to buy that Microsoft stocks, but maybe I
never got around to actually asking you."

Mary's post (940609) says:

so 'deciding' was a matter of running through various alternatives and
imaging their consequences. Given a reference level of the best strategy, and
the least error, the outcome of that process was not a decision, it was

The more I think about decisions, the less I think they exist - except,
perhaps, in situations of conflict, where any alternative looks bad.

This sounds like one type of decision making to me. I am not sure what _not
existing_ means.

It seems the description "best strategy" leaves several
questions open. What errors are considered? That is, what options are
considered? What higher-order references signals are checked against the
anticipated consequences? Is the process a weighted sum or a simple sum? If
weighted, what determines the weights, gain? How does the model jive with
the simulations of computer chess programs? Those modelers rejected the
weighted sum description because of the processing power required. Did they
mis-assume the processing power available to humans? Does some decision
making require less processing?

Martin was right to call me on the DME=conscious processes in my second
post. In fact, as I mentioned in my first post, Beach (1990) has a PCT-like
model that describes when DM is likely to be conscious and when it is not.
His model needs more data, Rick, but basically the idea is that processing
occurs unconsciously (and presumably in parallel) unless the alternative results
in too much error. This seem very compatible with Mary's notion of "unless
there is conflict."

What I am trying to understand is the role of consciousness. It seems that
consciousness provides resources not available during unconscious processing.
But, what exactly are those resources? I think this is related to the
alerting thread also. Alerting is a call for additional resources.