25 research outputs found

    Sebastian's thoughts on open review

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    Fast or Frugal, but not both: Decision Heuristics under Time Pressure

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    Heuristics are simple, yet effective, strategies that people use to make decisions. Because heuristics do not require all available information, they are thought to be easy to implement and to not tax limited cognitive resources, which has led heuristics to be characterized as fast-and-frugal. We question this monolithic conception of heuristics by contrasting the cognitive demands of two popular heuristics, Tallying and Take-the-Best. We contend that heuristics that are frugal in terms of information usage may not always be fast because of the attentional control required to implement this focus in certain contexts. In support of this hypothesis, we find that Take-the-Best, while being more frugal in terms of information usage, is slower to implement and fares worse under time pressure manipulations than Tallying. This effect is then reversed when search costs for Take-the-Best are reduced by changing the format of the stimuli. These findings suggest that heuristics are heterogeneous and should be unpacked according to their cognitive demands to determine the circumstances a heuristic best applies

    Measures of Neural Similarity

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    The intrinsic value of choice: The propensity to under-delegate in the face of potential gains and losses

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    Human beings are often faced with a pervasive problem: whether to make their own decision or to delegate the decision task to someone else. Here, we test whether people are inclined to forgo monetary rewards in order to retain agency when faced with choices that could lead to losses and gains. In a simple choice task, we show that participants choose to pay in order to control their own payoff more than they should if they were to maximize monetary rewards and minimize monetary losses. This tendency cannot be explained by participants’ overconfidence in their own ability, as their perceived ability was elicited and accounted for. Nor can the results be explained by lack of information. Rather, the results seem to reflect an intrinsic value for choice, which emerges in the domain of both gains and of losses. Moreover, our data indicate that participants are aware that they are making suboptimal choices in the normative sense, but do so anyway, presumably for psychological gains

    The Intrinsic Value of Control: The Propensity to Under-Delegate in the Face of Potential Gains and Losses

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    Human beings are often faced with a pervasive problem: whether to make their own decisions or to delegate decision tasks to someone else. Here, we test whether people are inclined to forgo monetary rewards in order to retain agency when faced with choices that could lead to losses and gains. In a simple choice task, we show that even though participants have all the information needed to maximize rewards and minimize losses, they choose to pay in order to control their own payoff. This tendency cannot be explained by participants’ overconfidence in their own ability, as their perceived ability was elicited and accounted for. Rather, the results reflect an intrinsic value for choice, which emerges in the domain of both gains and losses. Moreover, our data indicates that participants are aware that they are making suboptimal choices in the normative sense, but do so anyway, presumably for psychological gains

    Robust priors for regularized regression

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    Induction benefits from useful priors. Penalized regression approaches, like ridge regression, shrink weights toward zero but zero association is usually not a sensible prior. Inspired by simple and robust decision heuristics humans use, we constructed non-zero priors for penalized regression models that provide robust and interpretable solutions across several tasks. Our approach enables estimates from a constrained model to serve as a prior for a more general model, yielding a principled way to interpolate between models of differing complexity. We successfully applied this approach to a number of decision and classification problems, as well as analyzing simulated brain imaging data. Models with robust priors had excellent worst-case performance. Solutions followed from the form of the heuristic that was used to derive the prior. These new algorithms can serve applications in data analysis and machine learning, as well as help in understanding how people transition from novice to expert performance

    Subjective value and decision entropy are jointly encoded by aligned gradients across the human brain

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    Recent work has considered the relationship between value and confidence in both behavioural and neural representation. Here we evaluated whether the brain organises value and confidence signals in a systematic fashion that reflects the overall desirability of options. If so, regions that respond to either increases or decreases in both value and confidence should be widespread. We strongly confirmed these predictions through a model-based fMRI analysis of a mixed gambles task that assessed subjective value (SV) and inverse decision entropy (iDE), which is related to confidence. Purported value areas more strongly signalled iDE than SV, underscoring how intertwined value and confidence are. A gradient tied to the desirability of actions transitioned from positive SV and iDE in ventromedial prefrontal cortex to negative SV and iDE in dorsal medial prefrontal cortex. This alignment of SV and iDE signals could support retrospective evaluation to guide learning and subsequent decisions

    Subjective value and decision entropy are jointly encoded by aligned gradients across the human brain

    Get PDF
    Recent work has considered the relationship between value and confidence in both behavioural and neural representation. Here we evaluated whether the brain organises value and confidence signals in a systematic fashion that reflects the overall desirability of options. If so, regions that respond to either increases or decreases in both value and confidence should be widespread. We strongly confirmed these predictions through a model-based fMRI analysis of a mixed gambles task that assessed subjective value (SV) and inverse decision entropy (iDE), which is related to confidence. Purported value areas more strongly signalled iDE than SV, underscoring how intertwined value and confidence are. A gradient tied to the desirability of actions transitioned from positive SV and iDE in ventromedial prefrontal cortex to negative SV and iDE in dorsal medial prefrontal cortex. This alignment of SV and iDE signals could support retrospective evaluation to guide learning and subsequent decisions

    How People Update Beliefs about Climate Change: Good News and Bad News

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    People are frequently exposed to competing evidence about climate change. We examined how new information alters people’s beliefs. We find that people who doubt that man-made climate change is occurring, and who do not favor an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, show a form of asymmetrical updating: They change their beliefs in response to unexpected good news (suggesting that average temperature rise is likely to be less than previously thought) and fail to change their beliefs in response to unexpected bad news (suggesting that average temperature rise is likely to be greater than previously thought). By contrast, people who strongly believe that man-made climate change is occurring, and who favor an international agreement, show the opposite asymmetry: They change their beliefs far more in response to unexpected bad news (suggesting that average temperature rise is likely to be greater than previously thought) than in response to unexpected good news (suggesting that average temperature rise is likely to be smaller than previously thought). The results suggest that exposure to varied scientific evidence about climate change may increase polarization within a population due to asymmetrical updating. We explore the implications of our findings for how people will update their beliefs upon receiving new evidence about climate change, and also for other beliefs relevant to politics and law

    Social Preference of Building Materials: Decision-Making towards Low Carbon Housing Constructions

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    Material considerations are essential while trying to achieve low energy and carbon constructions. According to our preliminary findings, decisions regarding materials in new buildings are mostly done by clients or by self-builders often without the aid of an architect or planner. Therefore, community studies are important to understand today’s building dynamics. In this exploratory study - carried out in USA and Mexico - we analysed the public’s preferences for building materials for the exterior of dwellings and the factors that have more influence over their decisions while choosing the materials. We also studied the update in the subjects’ preference after receiving certain information concerning the materials. We wanted to know if the environmental factors play an important role in today's public preference in the building sector and what type of information could greater affect their beliefs. Preliminary results for Mexico and after a follow up analysis for USA show that acknowledging unfamiliar information (e.g. carbon emissions or price) might have a greater influence on the public’s update of preference of materials. This could have implications for the construction market dynamics in the usage promotion of low carbon building materials. KEYWORDS: Building materials, decision-making, low carbon, social cognitio
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