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Accumulation is late and brief in preferential choice

Edmunds, C. E. R. and Bose, Devdeepta and Camerer, Colin F. and Mullett, Timothy L. and Stewart, Neil (2020) Accumulation is late and brief in preferential choice. . (Unpublished)

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Preferential choices are often explained using models within the evidence accumulation framework: value drives the drift rate at which evidence is accumulated until a threshold is reached and an option is chosen. Although rarely stated explicitly, almost all such models assume that decision makers have knowledge at the onset of the choice of all available attributes and options. In reality however, choice information is viewed piece-by-piece, and is often not completely acquired until late in the choice, if at all. Across four eye-tracking experiments, we show that whether the information was acquired early or late is irrelevant in predicting choice: all that matters is whether or not it was acquired at all. Models with potential alternative assumptions were posited and tested, such as 1) accumulation of instantaneously available information or 2) running estimates as information is acquired. These provided poor fits to the data. We are forced to conclude that participants either are clairvoyant, accumulating using information before they have looked at it, or delay accumulating evidence until very late in the choice, so late that the majority of choice time is not time in which evidence is accumulated. Thus, although the evidence accumulation framework may still be useful in measurement models, it cannot account for the details of the processes involved in decision making.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemSupplemental Materials
Camerer, Colin F.0000-0003-4049-1871
Additional Information:License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International. We acknowledge Economic and Social Research Council grants ES/N018192/1 and ES/P008976/1. The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.
Group:Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/N018192/1
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/P008976/1
Subject Keywords:drift diffusion model; modeling; value-based choice
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200324-085240408
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Official Citation:Edmunds, C. E. R., Bose, D., Camerer, C., Mullett, T. L., & Stewart, N. (2020, March 24). Accumulation is late and brief in preferential choice.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:102074
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:24 Mar 2020 18:23
Last Modified:25 Sep 2020 21:14

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