Traditional accumulation-to-bound decision-making models assume that all choice options are processed with equal attention. In real life decisions, however, humans alternate their visual fixation between individual items to efficiently gather relevant information (Yang et al., 2016). These fixations also causally affect one's choices, biasing them toward the longer-fixated item (Krajbich et al., 2010). We derive a normative decision-making model in which attention enhances the reliability of information, consistent with neurophysiological findings (Cohen and Maunsell, 2009). Furthermore, our model actively controls fixation changes to optimize information gathering. We show that the optimal model reproduces fixation-related choice biases seen in humans and provides a Bayesian computational rationale for this phenomenon. This insight led to additional predictions that we could confirm in human data. Finally, by varying the relative cognitive advantage conferred by attention, we show that decision performance is benefited by a balanced spread of resources between the attended and unattended items.
- Jan Drugowitsch
- Jan Drugowitsch
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: Human behavioral data were obtained from previously published work from the California Institute of Technology (Krajbich et al., 2010). Caltech's Human Subjects Internal Review Board approved the experiment. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants.
- Konstantinos Tsetsos, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany
- Received: September 24, 2020
- Accepted: March 17, 2021
- Accepted Manuscript published: March 26, 2021 (version 1)
© 2021, Jang et al.
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