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Contemplation vs. intuition: a reinforcement learning perspective

Author

Listed:
  • In-Koo Cho

    () (University of Illinois)

  • Anna Rubinchik

    () (University of Haifa)

Abstract

Abstract In a search for a positive model of decision-making with observable primitives, we rely on the burgeoning literature in cognitive neuroscience to construct a three-element machine (agent). Its control unit initiates either impulsive or cognitive elements to solve a problem in a stationary Markov environment, the element chosen depends on whether the problem is mundane or novel, memory of past successes, and the strength of inhibition. Our predictions are based on a stationary asymptotic distribution of the memory, which, depending on the parameters, can generate different “characters”, e.g., an uptight dimwit, who could succeed more often with less inhibition, as well as a laid-back wise-guy, who could gain more with a stronger inhibition of impulsive (intuitive) responses. As one would expect, stronger inhibition and lower cognitive costs increase the frequency of decisions made by the cognitive element. More surprisingly, increasing the “carrot” and reducing the “stick” (being in a more supportive environment) enhance contemplative decisions (made by the cognitive unit) for an alert agent, i.e., the one who identifies novel problems frequently enough.

Suggested Citation

  • In-Koo Cho & Anna Rubinchik, 2017. "Contemplation vs. intuition: a reinforcement learning perspective," EURO Journal on Decision Processes, Springer;EURO - The Association of European Operational Research Societies, vol. 5(1), pages 141-167, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:eurjdp:v:5:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s40070-017-0068-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s40070-017-0068-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Spiegler, Ran, 2014. "Bounded Rationality and Industrial Organization," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199334261.
    2. Gilboa,Itzhak & Schmeidler,David, 2001. "A Theory of Case-Based Decisions," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521802345, Fall.
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    5. Alos Ferrer, Carlos, 2013. "Think, but Not Too Much: A Dual-Process Model of Willpower and Self-Control," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80019, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    The two-system decision-making; Executive control; Inhibition; Adaptive learning; Stochastic approximation;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles

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