Home » Exploring Malaysian undergraduates’ decision-making patterns in different situational contexts

Exploring Malaysian undergraduates’ decision-making patterns in different situational contexts


Decisions are made all the time. While the decisions that humans make should ideally be objective decisions, almost all the time the decisions that are made are influenced by many overlapping factors that vary from one situation to another. This includes decision maker’s environment, their past experiences, cognitive biases, individual differences and belief in personal relevance. Past studies have shown that the decisions that individuals make can be linked to their social behaviours and/ or socio-economic status. Hence, the current study aims to explore the decisionmaking patterns of a group of Malay-English bilingual Malaysian undergraduates (n = 128) based on the decisions that they made when reading 48 situational statements that are either in Malay (24 statements) or English (24 statements). Sixtysix of these bilinguals were from the low-income group whereas the remaining 62 were from the high-income group. To explore their social behaviour, the situational statements were presented to them in three different themes, namely, “Dictatorship”, “Jealousy” and “Charity”, each with three different options for them to choose from. The statements were also presented with or without the inclusion of a Malay or a Western cultural element. Results show different decision-making patterns in the three different themes. However, although past studies showed that income group, language proficiency and the language used in which the studies are conducted play a role in decision-making, neither of these had significant impact on the decisions that the respondents of the current study made. The findings from the current study suggest that there may be other factors that shaped the decision-making patterns of Malaysian undergraduates today.



SCImago Journal & Country Rank