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Front Psychol. 2012 Jun 13;3:193. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00193. eCollection 2012.

The attentional drift-diffusion model extends to simple purchasing decisions.

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Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA, USA.


How do we make simple purchasing decisions (e.g., whether or not to buy a product at a given price)? Previous work has shown that the attentional drift-diffusion model (aDDM) can provide accurate quantitative descriptions of the psychometric data for binary and trinary value-based choices, and of how the choice process is guided by visual attention. Here we extend the aDDM to the case of purchasing decisions, and test it using an eye-tracking experiment. We find that the model also provides a reasonably accurate quantitative description of the relationship between choice, reaction time, and visual fixations using parameters that are very similar to those that best fit the previous data. The only critical difference is that the choice biases induced by the fixations are about half as big in purchasing decisions as in binary choices. This suggests that a similar computational process is used to make binary choices, trinary choices, and simple purchasing decisions.


choice; decision neuroscience; decision-making; drift-diffusion; eye-tracking; neuroeonomics; purchasing; valuation

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