Irrational Decision Making in Non-Humans: A Critical Review of Comparative Cognition Context Effect Research

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Irrational Decision Making in Non-Humans: A Critical Review of Comparative Cognition Context Effect Research

Irrational Decision Making in Non-Humans: A Critical Review of Comparative Cognition Context Effect Research

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  • 1. Asymmetric dominance Megapixel Price sA 8 $800 $1,000 > $1,200 but $800B 10 > {8, 9} > $1,000C9 $1,200Camera B totally dominates camera C on megapixels and price, but onlydominates camera A on megapixels  Camera B asymmetricallydominates cameras A and C
  • 2. [Ir]rationality1. Independence of irrelevant alternatives (IIA)2. Regularity3. Sometimes: transitivity Result in preference reversals Violating one or all of these rules indicates the use of a comparative vs. absolute valuation rule
  • 3. Study Animal Choice Sets IIA Reg. Trans. NoteLatty and unicellular slime BIN vs. TRI x x* *only starvedBeekman molds (P.(2010) polycephalum)Shafir (1994) honey bees (Apis BIN x effort mellifera) attributeShafir, Waite, honey bees (Apis BIN vs. TRI x no effortand Smith mellifera) and attribute(2002)Shafir, Waite, Gray jays (P. BIN vs. TRI x x effortand Smith canadensis) attribute(2002)Hurley and hummingbirds BIN vs. TRI x risk attributeOseen (1999) (Selasphorus rufus)Bateson, Healy, hummingbirds BIN vs. TRI x x xand Hurley (Selasphorus(2002, 2003) rufus)Waite (2001) Gray jays (P. BIN x x canadensis)Scarpi (2010) (Felis catus) BIN vs. TRI* x x *phantom decoys x = violation | no = no violation | blank = unknown
  • 4. [Ir]rationality? Bigger question: Is this actually irrational?1. It occurs in all sorts of animals, from unicellular organisms, to birds, cats, and humans It would be surprising if natural selection didn’t correct this if it were truly bad for us2. It’s probably not a side effect of a shared cognitive mechanism Perhaps it’s rational? Or perhaps we’ve just Or perhaps we’ve justdefined utility in the wrong defined rationality in the way? wrong way?
  • 5. TheoriesDecision Field Theory•1. Actors calculate utilities at every moment when their focus changes Independence of irrelevant alternatives• Preferences along dimensions are evaluated over time and a choice is (IIA) made when the preference exceeds a threshold•2. Context effects cause dimensional weights to shift Regularity• Size of context effect depends on time to make decision Problem:3. Utility still doesn’t represent the underlying value of an option to Sometimes: transitivity reproductive successRedefining Utility (Samuelson & Swinkels, 2006) Economist: you’re irrational• From Friday’s presentation• Context effects = evolutionarily advantageous because it allows actors to learn about choices