Consistent patterns of distractor effects during decision making

  1. Bolton K H Chau  Is a corresponding author
  2. Chun-Kit Law
  3. Alizée Lopez-Persem
  4. Miriam C Klein-Flügge
  5. Matthew F S Rushworth
  1. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
  2. University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Abstract

The value of a third potential option or distractor can alter the way in which decisions are made between two other options. Two hypotheses have received empirical support: that a high value distractor improves the accuracy with which decisions between two other options are made and that it impairs accuracy. Recently, however, it has been argued that neither observation is replicable. Inspired by neuroimaging data showing that high value distractors have different impacts on prefrontal and parietal regions, we designed a dual route decision-making model that mimics the neural signals of these regions. Here we show in the dual route model and empirical data that both enhancement and impairment effects are robust phenomena but predominate in different parts of the decision space defined by the options' and the distractor's values. However, beyond these constraints, both effects co-exist under similar conditions. Moreover, both effects are robust and observable in six experiments.

Data availability

The codes for running the mutual inhibition model, divisive normalization model, dual route model and null model can be found at:https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.k6djh9w3cBehavioural data of Experiments 1, 3 and 7 can be found at:https://datadryad.org/stash/dataset/doi:10.5061/dryad.040h9t7Behavioural data of Experiments 2, 4-6 can be found from a link provided by Gluth and colleagues (2018) at:https://osf.io/8r4fh/Behavioural and eye tracking data of Experiment 8 can be found at:https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.k6djh9w3c

The following data sets were generated
The following previously published data sets were used

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Bolton K H Chau

    Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    For correspondence
    boltonchau@gmail.com
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-6854-5176
  2. Chun-Kit Law

    Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-1185-1308
  3. Alizée Lopez-Persem

    Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-7566-5715
  4. Miriam C Klein-Flügge

    Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN), Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-5156-9833
  5. Matthew F S Rushworth

    Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Funding

Research Grants Council, University Grants Committee (25610316)

  • Bolton K H Chau

Wellcome (WT100973AIA)

  • Matthew F S Rushworth

Wellcome (203139/Z/16/Z)

  • Matthew F S Rushworth

Medical Research Council (MR/P024955/1)

  • Matthew F S Rushworth

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Human subjects: Experiments 3, 7 and 8 were approved by ethics committee of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Experiment 1 was approved by that of University of Oxford.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Thorsten Kahnt, Northwestern University, United States

Version history

  1. Received: November 22, 2019
  2. Accepted: July 6, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: July 6, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: July 20, 2020 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2020, Chau et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Bolton K H Chau
  2. Chun-Kit Law
  3. Alizée Lopez-Persem
  4. Miriam C Klein-Flügge
  5. Matthew F S Rushworth
(2020)
Consistent patterns of distractor effects during decision making
eLife 9:e53850.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.53850

Share this article

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.53850

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