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Psychol Rev. 2005 Oct;112(4):912-31.

On adaptation, maximization, and reinforcement learning among cognitive strategies.

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Max Werthiemer Minerva Center for Cognitive Studies, Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.


Analysis of binary choice behavior in iterated tasks with immediate feedback reveals robust deviations from maximization that can be described as indications of 3 effects: (a) a payoff variability effect, in which high payoff variability seems to move choice behavior toward random choice; (b) underweighting of rare events, in which alternatives that yield the best payoffs most of the time are attractive even when they are associated with a lower expected return; and (c) loss aversion, in which alternatives that minimize the probability of losses can be more attractive than those that maximize expected payoffs. The results are closer to probability matching than to maximization. Best approximation is provided with a model of reinforcement learning among cognitive strategies (RELACS). This model captures the 3 deviations, the learning curves, and the effect of information on uncertainty avoidance. It outperforms other models in fitting the data and in predicting behavior in other experiments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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