(A) In a deliberative decision-making model, individuals assign values to the different options and compare these values at the time of choice to select to most profitable option (top panel). Alternatively, the SCM assumes that individuals make no comparison between options to make a choice (bottom panel). Instead, decision-making mechanisms are adapted to sequential encounters, in which individuals decide to accept or reject single opportunities. (B) The SCM proposes that individuals assign independently to each option a subjective value based on the option’s profitability relative to background opportunities. This value is expressed as a probability to accept each option instead of pursuing the search (i.e. the response latency). During a choice between two options A and B, the tendency to respond for both options is compared to a threshold. The response reaching the threshold first wins the race and is selected, while the alternative response is aborted (top panel). This results in a cross-censorship between distributions of response latencies (bottom panel); only the fastest response is selected and produces a latency observation. (C) When options are presented sequentially during sampling trials, there is no cross-censorship and the distributions of latencies are entirely expressed. (D) However, when options are presented simultaneously during choice trials, the cross-censorship described in (B) leads to a shortening of latencies during choice compared to sampling trials; the preferred option A is more often selected because response latencies for this option are overall shorter (top panel) but because of the overlap in distributions of latencies, the least preferred option B can occasionally be selected (bottom panel). Choices of option A are less censored by longer responses for option B (blue gradient, top panel); thus, the expected shift toward shorter latencies is weaker for the preferred option. In contrast, choices of the least preferred option B are largely censored by responses for option A (pink gradient, bottom panel). Thus, the expected shortening of choice latencies is stronger for the least preferred option.