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Voluntary sleep choice and its effects on Bayesian decisions: A study of two samples of college students

Listed author(s):
  • David L. Dickinson
  • Sean P.A. Drummond
  • Jeff Dyche

This study examines whether voluntary sleep restriction at commonly experienced levels impacts decision-making in a Bayesian choice task. Participants were largely traditional age college students from a regional state university (n=100) and a federal military academy (n=99). Sleep was measured by actigraphy over a one-week period, followed by performance of a decision task. The task involved two sources of information, base rate odds and sample evidence, with subjects asked to make a probability judgment. Results found that subjects with nightly sleep 7 hr, placed less decision weight on new evidence, relative to base rate information, in making difficult choices. This result is mediated by gender and differs when comparing cadets with traditional student subjects. For easier choices, voluntary SD did not affect relative decision weights placed on the two sources of available information, and results were similar across institutions and by gender. Key Words:

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File URL: http://econ.appstate.edu/RePEc/pdf/wp1411.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Appalachian State University in its series Working Papers with number 14-11.

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Date of creation: 2014
Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:14-11
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Web page: http://economics.appstate.edu/

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  1. Trudy Cameron, 2005. "Updating Subjective Risks in the Presence of Conflicting Information: An Application to Climate Change," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 63-97, January.
  2. David L. Dickinson & Sean P. A. Drummond, 2008. "The effects of total sleep deprivation on Bayesian updating," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 3, pages 181-190, February.
  3. David M. Grether, 1980. "Bayes Rule as a Descriptive Model: The Representativeness Heuristic," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(3), pages 537-557.
  4. Lundborg, Petter & Andersson, Henrik, 2008. "Gender, risk perceptions, and smoking behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1299-1311, September.
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