Contextual Effects in Value-Based Decision Making: A Resource-Rational Mechanistic Account

AbstractA wealth of experimental evidence shows that, contrary to normative models of choice, people’s preferences are markedly swayed by the context in which options are presented. Particularly, there exist a well-known triad of effects, dubbed the contextual effects, which consistently show that preferences change depending on the availability of other options: the attraction effect, the similarity effect, and the compromise effect. In this work, we present the first resource-rational, process-level account of these three contextual effects by extending Nobandegani et al.'s (2018) sample-based expected utility model to the realm of multi-attribute value-based decision-making. Importantly, our work is consisted with two empirically well-supported findings: (1) People tend to draw only a few samples in their probabilistic judgment and decision-making, and (2) People tend to overestimate the probability of extreme events in their judgment.

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