When Optimal Choices Feel Wrong: A Laboratory Study of Bayesian Updating, Complexity, and Affect
We examine decision-making under risk and uncertainty in a laboratory experiment. The heart of our design examines how oneâ€™s propensity to use Bayesâ€™ rule is affected by whether this rule is aligned with reinforcement or clashes with it. In some cases, we create environments where Bayesian updating after a successful outcome should lead a decision-maker to make a change, while no change should be made after observing an unsuccessful outcome. We observe striking patterns: When payoff reinforcement and Bayesian updating are aligned, nearly all people respond as expected. However, when these forces clash, around 50% of all decisions are inconsistent with Bayesian updating. While people tend to make costly initial choices that eliminate complexity in a subsequent decision, we find that complexity alone cannot explain our results. Finally, when a draw provides only information (and no payment), switching errors occur much less frequently, suggesting that the â€˜emotional reinforcementâ€™ (affect) induced by payments is a critical factor in deviations from Bayesian updating. There is considerable behavioral heterogeneity; we identify different types in the population and find that people who make â€˜switching errorsâ€™ are more likely to have cross-period â€˜reinforcementâ€™ tendencies.
|Date of creation:||24 Oct 2003|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (805) 893-3670
Fax: (805) 893-8830
Web page: http://www.escholarship.org/repec/ucsbecon_dwp/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Zizzo, Daniel John & Stolarz-Fantino, Stephanie & Wen, Julie & Fantino, Edmund, 2000. "A violation of the monotonicity axiom: experimental evidence on the conjunction fallacy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 263-276, March.
- Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
- Grether, David M, 1980.
"Bayes Rule as a Descriptive Model: The Representativeness Heuristic,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 537-57, November.
- Grether, David M., . "Bayes Rule as a Descriptive Model: The Representativeness Heuristic," Working Papers 245, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Itzhak Gilboa & David Schmeidler, 1992.
"Case-Based Decision Theory,"
994, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Camerer, Colin & Ho, Teck-Hua, 1997. "Experience-Weighted Attraction Learning in Games: A Unifying Approach," Working Papers 1003, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1998.
"The Theory of Learning in Games,"
MIT Press Books,
The MIT Press,
edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061945, June.
- Roth, Alvin E. & Erev, Ido, 1995. "Learning in extensive-form games: Experimental data and simple dynamic models in the intermediate term," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 164-212.
- repec:cup:cbooks:9780521003117 is not listed on IDEAS
- Gary Charness & Dan Levin, 2005.
"When Optimal Choices Feel Wrong: A Laboratory Study of Bayesian Updating, Complexity, and Affect,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1300-1309, September.
- Charness, Gary & Levin, Dan, 2003. "When Optimal Choices Feel Wrong: A Laboratory Study of Bayesian Updating, Complexity, and Affect," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7g63k28w, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
- repec:cup:cbooks:9780521802345 is not listed on IDEAS
- Cheung, Yin-Wong & Friedman, Daniel, 1997. "Individual Learning in Normal Form Games: Some Laboratory Results," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 46-76, April.
- Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-24, December.
- Ouwersloot, Hans & Nijkamp, Peter & Rietveld, Piet, 1998. "Errors in probability updating behaviour : Measurement and impact analysis," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 535-563, October.
- Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
- Grether, David M., 1992.
"Testing bayes rule and the representativeness heuristic: Some experimental evidence,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 31-57, January.
- Grether, David M., 1990. "Testing Bayes Rule and the Representativeness Heuristic: Some Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 724, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Camerer, Colin & Weber, Martin, 1992. " Recent Developments in Modeling Preferences: Uncertainty and Ambiguity," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 325-70, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt7g63k28w. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.