Item Details

Equal Evidence Perceptual Tasks Suggest Key Role for Interactive Competition in Decision-Making

Kirkpatrick, Ryan
Format
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Author
Kirkpatrick, Ryan
Advisor
Sederberg, Per
Abstract
The dynamics of decision-making have been widely studied over the past several decades through the lens of an overarching theory called sequential sampling theory (SST). Within SST, choices are represented as accumulators, each of which races toward a decision boundary by drawing stochastic samples of evidence through time. Although progress has been made in understanding how decisions are made within the SST framework, considerable debate centers on whether the accumulators exhibit dependency during the evidence accumulation process; namely whether accumulators are independent, fully dependent, or partially dependent. To evaluate which type of dependency is the most plausible representation of human decision-making, we applied a novel twist on two classic perceptual tasks; namely, in addition to the classic paradigm (i.e., the unequal-evidence conditions), we used stimuli that provided different magnitudes of equal-evidence (i.e., the equal-evidence conditions). In equal-evidence conditions, response times systematically decreased with increases in the magnitude of evidence, whereas in unequal evidence conditions, response times systematically increased as the difference in evidence between the two alternatives decreased. We designed a spectrum of models that ranged from independent accumulation to fully dependent accumulation, while also examining the effects of within-trial and between-trial variability. We then fit the set of models to our two experiments and found that models instantiating the principles of partial dependency provided the best fit to the data. Our results further suggest that mechanisms inducing partial dependency, such as lateral inhibition, are beneficial for understanding complex decision-making dynamics, even when the task is relatively simple.
Language
English
Published
University of Virginia, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, MA (Master of Arts), 2019
Published Date
2019-10-23
Degree
MA (Master of Arts)
Collection
Libra ETD Repository
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