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Failure of Intuition When Choosing Whether to Invest in a Single Goal or Split Resources Between Two Goals

Clarke, Alasdair DF and Hunt, Amelia R (2016) 'Failure of Intuition When Choosing Whether to Invest in a Single Goal or Split Resources Between Two Goals.' Psychological Science, 27 (1). 64 - 74. ISSN 0956-7976

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Abstract

In a series of related experiments, we asked people to choose whether to split their attention between two equally likely potential tasks or to prioritize one task at the expense of the other. In such a choice, when the tasks are easy, the best strategy is to prepare for both of them. As difficulty increases beyond the point at which people can perform both tasks accurately, they should switch strategy and focus on one task at the expense of the other. Across three very different tasks (target detection, throwing, and memory), none of the participants switched their strategy at the correct point. Moreover, the majority consistently failed to modify their strategy in response to changes in task difficulty. This failure may have been related to uncertainty about their own ability, because in a version of the experiment in which there was no uncertainty, participants uniformly switched at an optimal point.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: decision making, optimal behavior, open data
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2017 13:52
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2019 15:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/19292

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