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What's in the Adaptive Toolbox and How Do People Choose From It? Rational Models of Strategy Selection in Risky Choice


Conference Paper


Although process data indicates that people often rely on various (often heuristic) strategies to choose between risky options, our models of heuristics cannot predict people's choices very accurately. To address this challenge, it has been proposed that people adaptively choose from a toolbox of simple strategies. But which strategies are contained in this toolbox? And how do people decide when to use which decision strategy? Here, we develop a model according to which each person selects decisions strategies rationally from their personal toolbox; our model allows one to infer which strategies are contained in the cognitive toolbox of an individual decision-maker and specifies when she will use which strategy. Using cross-validation on an empirical data set, we find that this rational model of strategy selection from a personal adaptive toolbox predicts people's choices better than any single strategy (even when it is allowed to vary across participants) and better than previously proposed toolbox models. Our model comparisons show that both inferring the toolbox and rational strategy selection are critical for accurately predicting people's risky choices. Furthermore, our model-based data analysis reveals considerable individual differences in the set of strategies people are equipped with and how they choose among them; these individual differences could partly explain why some people make better choices than others. These findings represent an important step towards a complete formalization of the notion that people select their cognitive strategies from a personal adaptive toolbox.

Author(s): Florian Mohnert and Thorsten Pachur and Falk Lieder
Year: 2019
Month: July

Department(s): Rationality Enhancement
Research Project(s): Human Planning and Decision-Making
Bibtex Type: Conference Paper (conference)
Paper Type: Conference

Event Name: 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society

URL: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/332407478_What%27s_in_the_Adaptive_Toolbox_and_How_Do_People_Choose_From_It_Rational_Models_of_Strategy_Selection_in_Risky_Choice


  title = {What's in the Adaptive Toolbox and How Do People Choose From It? Rational Models of Strategy Selection in Risky Choice},
  author = {Mohnert, Florian and Pachur, Thorsten and Lieder, Falk},
  month = jul,
  year = {2019},
  url = {https://www.researchgate.net/publication/332407478_What%27s_in_the_Adaptive_Toolbox_and_How_Do_People_Choose_From_It_Rational_Models_of_Strategy_Selection_in_Risky_Choice},
  month_numeric = {7}