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Acta Psychol (Amst). 2013 Sep;144(1):190-206. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.06.003. Epub 2013 Jul 9.

Attention and choice: a review on eye movements in decision making.

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Aarhus University, Business and Social Sciences, Department of Business Administration, Denmark.


This paper reviews studies on eye movements in decision making, and compares their observations to theoretical predictions concerning the role of attention in decision making. Four decision theories are examined: rational models, bounded rationality, evidence accumulation, and parallel constraint satisfaction models. Although most theories were confirmed with regard to certain predictions, none of the theories adequately accounted for the role of attention during decision making. Several observations emerged concerning the drivers and down-stream effects of attention on choice, suggesting that attention processes plays an active role in constructing decisions. So far, decision theories have largely ignored the constructive role of attention by assuming that it is entirely determined by heuristics, or that it consists of stochastic information sampling. The empirical observations reveal that these assumptions are implausible, and that more accurate assumptions could have been made based on prior attention and eye movement research. Future decision making research would benefit from greater integration with attention research.


2300 Human experimental psychology; 2340 Cognitive processes; 2346 Attention; Choice; Decision making; Eye tracking; Review; Visual attention

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