Computational Psychiatry & Decision-making

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  • psyArXiv pdf Selective outcome reinstatement during evaluation drives heuristics in risky choice
  • Russek EM, Moran R, Liu Y, Dolan RJ and Huys QJM
  • psyArXiv kb6ew
  • A ubiquitous feature of human decision making under risk is that individuals differ from each other, as well as from normativity, in how they incorporate reward and probability information. One possible explanation for these deviations is a desire to reduce the number of potential outcomes considered during choice evaluation. Although multiple behavioral models can be invoked involving selective consideration of choice outcomes, whether differences in these tendencies underlie behavioral differences in sensitivity to reward and probability information is unknown. Here we consider neural evidence where we exploit magnetoencephalography (MEG) to decode the actual choice outcomes participants consider when they decide between a gamble and a safe outcome. We show that variability in tendencies of individual participants to reinstate neural outcome representations, based on either their probability or reward, explains variability in the extent to which their choices reflect consideration of probability and reward information. In keeping with this we also show that participants who are higher in behavioral impulsivity fail to preferentially reinstate outcomes with higher probability. Our results suggest that neural differences in the degree to which outcomes are considered shape risk taking strategy, both in decision making tasks, as well as in real life.