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J. Frank Yates
Regents' Proceedings

J. Frank Yates, Ph.D., Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and professor of psychology in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and professor of business administration in the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, retired from active faculty status on May 31, 2020.

Professor Yates received his A.B. (1967) degree from the University of Notre Dame and his M.A. (1969) and Ph.D. (1971) degrees from the University of Michigan. Professor Yates joined the University of Michigan faculty as a lecturer in 1969, and was promoted to assistant professor in 1971, associate professor in 1977, and professor of psychology in 1986. He also held additional appointments in the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Professor Yates was named the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor from 1988-1991 and the title was renewed in 2006.

Professor Yates was regarded as an excellent teacher, mentor, and leader at the University of Michigan, and as a ground-breaking scholar who defined the field in his book, Judgment and Decision Making (1990). His findings illuminated the nature of contrasting biases, such as uncertainty avoidance, over-confidence, risk-taking propensity, and indecisiveness. With his theory of cardinal issues in Decision Management (2003), Professor Yates pushed the field to understand real-world decisions in business, health care, and across cultures, and decision aids to manage them. This inclusive perspective distinguishes his remarkable contributions. Professor Yates was the author of over 100 publications, and a co-founder of the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. His honors include election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017 and the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science in 2011. Professor Yates’ extensive service advanced intellectual excellence and equality across diverse ethnic and social groups. As a graduate student in 1970, he wrote proposals for a service to improve Black students’ academic success (now the Comprehensive Studies Program) and for a Black studies center, which evolved into the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies. Finally, in 2005, he founded and directed the Preparation Initiative in the Stephen M. Ross Business School, a learning community for diverse groups of first-year undergraduates.

The Regents now salute this distinguished scholar by naming J. Frank Yates, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus, professor emeritus of psychology, and professor emeritus of business administration.