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Computational and neural mechanisms of decision irrationality

Talk by Konstantinos Tsetsos, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

2019.08.07 | Anne-Mette Pedersen

Date Tue 29 Oct
Time 11:00 13:00
Location IMC Meeting Room, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4, Building 1483-312



Humans violate rational choice theory but why the do so remains one of the largest mysteries in the cognitive and decision sciences. I will present a new model, dubbed selective integration, according to which decision irrationality stems from an attentional selection process that enhances the gain of processing of stronger inputs at the expense of weaker inputs. Although this attentional selection process leads to violations of axiomatic decision theory (such as violations of the axioms of transitivity and regularity) it has a normative justification: it nullifies the corrosive influence of late noise arising beyond the sensory stage. I will present a series of experiments, in which the ameliorative role of selective integration is confirmed, suggesting that apparently irrational decisions are a side effect of a rational evidence accumulation process. I will further present recent experiments, in which attention during choice tasks was either manipulated or measured, which confirmed the basic tenets of the selective integration theory.Using pharmacological MEG, I will allude to the neurochemical basis of selective integration. Specifically, I will show that the administration of a GABA-A receptor agonist in healthy individuals results in stronger selective integration and thus more pronounced decision irrationality patterns.


About the speaker:

Konstantinos Tsetsos, Irrationality Lab

University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf