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Reference effects on decision-making elicited by previous rewards

Rigoli, F. ORCID: 0000-0003-2233-934X (2019). Reference effects on decision-making elicited by previous rewards. Cognition, 192, article number 104034. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2019.104034


Substantial evidence has highlighted reference effects occurring during decision-making, whereby subjective value is not calculated in absolute terms but relative to the distribution of rewards characterizing a context. Among these, within-choice effects are exerted by options simultaneously available during choice. These should be distinguished from between-choice effects, which depend on the distribution of options presented in the past. Influential theories on between-choice effects include Decision-by-Sampling, Expectation-as-Reference and Divisive Normalization. Surprisingly, previous literature has focused on each theory individually disregarding the others. Thus, similarities and differences among theories remain to be systematically examined. Here we fill this gap by offering an overview of the state-of-the-art of research about between-choice reference effects. Our comparison of alternative theories shows that, at present, none of them is able to account for the full range of empirical data. To address this, we propose a model inspired by previous perspectives and based on a logistic framework, hence called logistic model of subjective value. Predictions of the model are analysed in detail about reference effects and risky decision-making. We conclude that our proposal offers a compelling framework for interpreting the multifaceted manifestations of between-choice reference effects.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © Elsevier, 2019. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: Decision-making, Risk, Reference effect, Context effect, Reward prediction error
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Manuscript_revised_15_07.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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