Leaving alternatives behind: A theoretical and experimental investigation of the role of mutual inhibition in shaping choice
Xiamin Leng, Romy Frömer, Thomas Summe, Amitai Shenhav, Brown University, United States
Posters 3 Poster
Pacific Ballroom H-O
Sat, 27 Aug, 19:30 - 21:30 Pacific Time (UTC -8)
When studying value-based decision making, we typically focus on understanding how people choose one option from a set to the exclusion of the remaining options (e.g., a menu). Popular models of decision making likewise assume some form of competition between options to account for choice exclusivity. Studying choices that relax this exclusivity property (e.g., buffets) could provide a critical test of these models, as well as novel insights into the range of decisions in the real world. Here, we developed a novel task that compares exclusive to non-exclusive choices, and used this task to test predicted computational mechanisms for choice exclusivity. Across two studies, we found that exclusive and non-exclusive choices were similarly accurate and similarly influenced by the relative values of the options, but non-exclusive choices were overall faster and demonstrated a greater speeding effect with higher overall set values than exclusive choices. We showed that these behavioral patterns are predicted by a sequential sampling model in which evidence accumulation is less competitive for non-exclusive relative to exclusive choices. These findings demonstrate new approaches to tease apart the processes that make our choices better from those that make them (unnecessarily) hard.