- Neural Mechanisms Underlying Compensatory and Noncompensatory Strategies in Risky Choice
- Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
- Volume | Issue number
- 28 | 9
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Individuals may differ systematically in their applied decision strategies, which has critical implications for decision neuroscience but is yet scarcely studied. Our study's main focus was therefore to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying compensatory versus noncompensatory strategies in risky choice. Here, we compared people using a compensatory expected value maximization with people using a simplified noncompensatory loss-minimizing choice strategy. To this end, we used a two-choice paradigm including a set of “simple” items (e.g., simple condition), in which one option was superior on all attributes, and a set of “conflict” items, in which one option was superior on one attribute but inferior on other attributes. A binomial mixture analysis of the decisions elicited by these items differentiated between decision-makers using either a compensatory or a noncompensatory strategy. Behavioral differences were particularly pronounced in the conflict condition, and these were paralleled by neural results. That is, we expected compensatory decision-makers to use an integrated value comparison during choice in the conflict condition. Accordingly, the compensatory group tracked the difference in expected value between choice options reflected in neural activation in the parietal cortex. Furthermore, we expected noncompensatory, compared with compensatory, decision-makers to experience increased conflict when attributes provided conflicting information. Accordingly, the noncompensatory group showed greater dorsomedial PFC activation only in the conflict condition. These pronounced behavioral and neural differences indicate the need for decision neuroscience to account for individual differences in risky choice strategies and to broaden its scope to noncompensatory risky choice strategies.
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