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The Effect of Foregone Outcomes on Choices From Experience

Rakow, Tim and Yechiam, Eldad (2011) 'The Effect of Foregone Outcomes on Choices From Experience.' Experimental Psychology (formerly Zeitschrift für Experimentelle Psychologie), 1 (-1). pp. 1-13. ISSN 1618-3169

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We examined the relative weight given to obtained and foregone outcomes (i.e., outcomes from the non-chosen options) in repeated choices using cognitive modeling. Previous modeling studies have yielded mixed results. When participants’ choices are analyzed by models that predict the next choice ahead in a sequence of decisions, the results imply that people give less weight to foregone than to obtained outcomes. In contrast, in simulation models of n trials ahead, the results imply that, on average, people give equal weight to foregone and obtained outcomes. Using datasets of experience-based binary choices with fixed (stationary) payoff distributions (Erev & Haruvy, in press) and dynamic (non-stationary) payoff distributions (Rakow & Miler, 2009), we employed generalization tests at the individual level to examine whether the findings derived from the one-step-ahead method are due to over-fitting. The results of trial-ahead model fitting implied that for the non-stationary tasks only, foregone outcomes received lower weight. However, when this dataset was assessed via generalization criteria at the individual level, equal weighting of foregone and obtained outcomes was the best assumption. This implies that over-fitting is implicated in the superior fit of models that assume discounting of foregone outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: decision making; learning; counterfactual; forgone payoffs; cognitive modeling; reinforcement learning; repeated choice
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2011 13:07
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2011 13:07

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