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Comparative Decision Making$
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Thomas R. Zentall and Philip H. Crowley

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199856800

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199856800.001.0001

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Behavioral Approaches to Decision Making

Behavioral Approaches to Decision Making

(p.211) Chapter 8 Behavioral Approaches to Decision Making
Comparative Decision Making

Edmund Fantino

Stephanie Stolarz-Fantino

Oxford University Press

This chapter compares decision-making in humans and pigeons. The authors first highlight base-rate neglect, in which pigeons are more influenced by actual experiences and generally less influenced than humans by prior expectations in predicting an outcome. Next is the sunk-cost effect; here pigeons and humans are similarly likely to choose in ways consistent with investments already made rather than in ways that can maximize future reward. The authors also consider error by humans in using rules that often provide useful shortcuts when those rules are transferred inappropriately to novel contexts. And issues surrounding altruism by humans are investigated using the sharing game, which uncovers major differences between the sexes and more altruism overall than has been detected in other primate species. The authors note the potential for future work on altruism in human decision making, a topic of exceptionally broad interest.

Keywords:   decision-making, humans, pigeons, base-rate neglect, prior expectations, sunk-cost effect, altruism, experiences, gender, primates

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