- Context effects in multi-alternative decision making: Empirical data and a Bayesian model
- Cognitive Science
- Volume | Issue number
- 36 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
For decisions between many alternatives, the benchmark result is Hick’s Law: that response time
increases log-linearly with the number of choice alternatives. Even when Hick’s Law is observed for
response times, divergent results have been observed for error rates—sometimes error rates increase with the number of choice alternatives, and sometimes they are constant. We provide evidence from two experiments that error rates are mostly independent of the number of choice alternatives, unless context effects induce participants to trade speed for accuracy across conditions. Error rate data have previously been used to discriminate between competing theoretical accounts of Hick’s Law, and our results question the validity of those conclusions. We show that a previously dismissed optimal observer model might provide a parsimonious account of both response time and error rate data. The model suggests that people approximate Bayesian inference in multi-alternative choice, except for some perceptual limitations.
- go to publisher's site
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.