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The role of working memory in information acquisition and decision making: Lessons from the binary prediction task

Rakow, T and Newell, BR and Zougkou, K (2010) 'The role of working memory in information acquisition and decision making: Lessons from the binary prediction task.' The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 63 (7). pp. 1335-1360. ISSN 1747-0218

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Abstract

The effects of memory constraints upon information acquisition and decision making were examined in two experiments using binary prediction tasks, where participants observe outcomes for two options before deciding which one to bet upon. Our studies extend previous investigations to the case where participants learn the structure of the task through observation, but where information acquisition is separated from the task of prediction. Participants with higher cognitive capacity (larger memory span or higher intelligence) were more likely to adopt the ?maximizing? strategy (always selecting the more frequent alternative). This finding conflicts with some recent investigations of similar tasks, a contrast that implies that the presence of feedback on choices may be important in determining the strategic actions of high-capacity individuals. Participants selecting the optimal strategy were in turn more efficient in their data acquisition. The behaviour of participants adopting suboptimal choice strategies was consistent with prediction based upon a ?narrow window of experience??that is, seeking to match the characteristics of small samples of observations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Choice; Probability; Binary prediction; Information acquisition; Memory; Working memory; Intelligence
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2011 18:51
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:39
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/1676

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