This paper develops and explores the interface between two related concepts in design decision making. First, design decision making is a process of simultaneously constructing one’s preferences while satisfying them. Second, design using computational models (e.g., simulation-based design and model-based design) is a sequential process that starts with low fidelity models for initial trades and progresses through models of increasing detail. Thus, decision making during design should be treated as a sequential decision process rather than as a single decision problem. This premise is supported by research from the domains of behavioral economics, psychology, judgment and decision making, neuroeconomics, marketing, and engineering design as reviewed herein. The premise is also substantiated by our own experience in conducting trade studies for numerous customers across engineering domains. The paper surveys the pertinent literature, presents supporting case studies and identifies use cases from our experiences, synthesizes a preliminary model of the sequential process, presents ongoing research in this area, and provides suggestions for future efforts.

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