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Behav Processes. 2018 Dec;157:301-308. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2018.09.002. Epub 2018 Sep 16.

Verbal behavior and risky choice in humans: Exploring the boundaries of the description-experience gap.

Author information

1
University of Florida, Department of Psychology, United States. Electronic address: david.j.cox@ufl.edu.
2
University of Florida, Department of Psychology, United States. Electronic address: dallery@ufl.edu.

Abstract

The description-experience (DE) gap is a tendency to prefer uncertain over certain rewards when experienced compared to described. DE gap research typically intermixes choice between two gains with choice between two losses. Because preference for uncertain gains have been found to increase following experienced loss, preference for uncertain gains (and the DE gap) may decrease when gains are presented in isolation. Experiment 1 examined the DE gap when participants were presented choices between gains (points) in isolation. Experiment 2 examined the DE gap when participants were presented with gains in isolation and intermixed with point losses. When gains were first contacted in isolation, participants chose the uncertain gain more when it was described compared to experienced (a reversed DE gap). But, when gains were intermixed with losses, participants chose the uncertain gain more when it was experienced compared to described (typical DE gap). Additional exposure to intermixed following isolated choices led to a typical DE gap, and exposure to isolated following intermixed choices decreased the size of the typical DE gap. These results show how choice with experienced or described outcomes is influenced by intermixing gains with losses and may reveal how the DE gap can be manipulated.

KEYWORDS:

Description versus experience; Description-experience gap; Probability discounting; Risky choice; Uncertain choice; Verbal behavior

PMID:
30232043
DOI:
10.1016/j.beproc.2018.09.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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