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Information, Evolution, and Utility (Samuelson & Swinkels, 2006)
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Information, Evolution, and Utility (Samuelson & Swinkels, 2006)

Information, Evolution, and Utility (Samuelson & Swinkels, 2006)

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Information, Evolution, and Utility (Samuelson & Swinkels, 2006) Presentation Transcript

  • 1. INFORMATION, MGMT 758EVOLUTION AND UTILITY Paul M. Cohen Samuelson & Swinkels, 2006
  • 2. THE PROBLEM good! awesome!(2.8 utils) (3.6 utils)
  • 3. THE PROBLEMProblem: utility of a choice depends on the salience of alternative choices i.e., choice set-dependent preferences e.g., compromise effect & decoy effect good! ehh… ehh… awesome! awesome! (2.8 utils) (2.8 2.2 utils) (2.8 2.2 utils) (3.6 utils) (3.6 utils) Changing utility = don’t represent evolutionary benefits of consumption (if it did, it would be consistent)
  • 4. THE PROBLEMProblem: utility of a choice depends on the salience of alternative choices i.e., choice set-dependent preferences e.g., compromise effect & decoy effect good! awesome!
  • 5. THE PROBLEMIt makes sense to attach utility to outcomes if weknow the perfect relationship between the two. Sex OffspringIf your goal is to maximize offspring , and you have aperfect prior statistical understanding of theworld, then you can attach a utility to maximizingoffspring. typical conception of utility
  • 6. THE MODELBut, if you don’t know these perfect correlations….(because it’s impossible to do so) e.g., an opportunity is faced with an OPTION to eatYou can’t attach utilities to outcomes ACTORYou have to attach utilities to actions to (not eating) (eating) accept reject learnmore about the world 1- p p q 1- q success failure success failureEspecially the xpart of the world where you don’t xknow the consequences= of actions x success utility Success: survive long enough to reproduce
  • 7. THE MODELOverview If outcomes are perfectly understood in their effect on success, then actions have no utility. e.g., an opportunity1. The probabilities of OPTION to eat p and q are not ACTOR know (e.g., the But, you can’t perfectly process signals about danger of not eating) the probability of success2. Actors face noisy (eating) You accept reject (not eating) can’t attach utilities to outcomes, because signals of p and q you can’t perfectly process signals p 1- p q 1- q3. Signals are Instead, you have to attach utilities to accepting success failure success failure transformed using a or rejecting an option at the marginal signal x x rule (Φ) to estimate the probability of x = success utility We incorporate irrelevant factors into our utility success because they are correlated with quality of Success: survive information to reproduce long enough
  • 8. THE MODELOverview If outcomes are perfectly understood in their effect on success, then actions have no utility. e.g., an opportunity1. The probabilitiesfaced with an is of OPTION OPTION e.g., an opportunity to eat p and q are not to eat ACTOR know (e.g., the But, you can’t perfectly process signals about danger of not eating) the probability of success2. Actors face noisy (eating) accept (notreject acceptYou can’t attach utilities to outcomes, because (not eating) (eating) reject eating) signals of p and q you can’t perfectly process signals p q p 1- p q1- p 1- q 1- q3. Signals are Instead, you have to attach utilities to accepting success failure success failure success failure success failure transformed using a or rejecting an option at the marginal signal x x rule (Φ) to estimatex+y y x 0 the probability of x = success utility Wexincorporate irrelevant factors into our utility = success utility success y = accepting utility because they are correlated with quality of Success: survive information to reproduce long enough Success: survive long enough to reproduce
  • 9. THE MODELOverview have an accurate statisticalare perfectly understood world, and  We (a) don’t If outcomes representation of the in their The we can’t accurately process the signals we get about the world eat (b) probabilities of effect on success, then actions have no utility. e.g., an opportunity1. is faced with an OPTION OPTION e.g., an opportunity to p and q are not to eat  ACTOR utility does not involve selecting the evolutionary signals of an Optimal know (e.g., the But, you can’t perfectly process value about danger of not eating) the probability of success action, but the “information-processing problem” that the individual faces in choosing between actions (especially when info quality is (not eating) You accept poor) (notreject (eating) can’t attach utilities to outcomes, because2. Actors face noisy (eating) accept reject eating) signals of p and q you can’t perfectly process signals p q  By making mistakes in p different contexts,q1- p 1- p our information processing 1- q 1- q3. Signals are better tailored to the world, failure attach utilities to acceptingus abilities are because these contexts allow Instead, you have to success success failure success failure success failure transformed using a outcome of x rejecting an option at the marginal signal to understand the orchoices in different circumstances x rule (Φ) to estimatex+y y x 0 the probability of x = success utility Wexincorporate irrelevant factors into our utility = success utility success y = accepting utility because they are correlated with quality of Success: survive information to reproduce long enough Success: survive long enough to reproduce