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How decisions and the desire for coherency shape subjective preferences over time

Hornsby, AN; Love, BC; (2020) How decisions and the desire for coherency shape subjective preferences over time. Cognition , 200 , Article 104244. 10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104244. Green open access

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Abstract

Recent findings suggest a bidirectional relationship between preferences and choices such that what is chosen can become preferred. Yet, it is still commonly held that preferences for individual items are maintained, such as caching a separate value estimate for each experienced option. Instead, we propose that all possible choice options and preferences are represented in a shared, continuous, multidimensional space that supports generalization. Decision making is cast as a learning process that seeks to align choices and preferences to maintain coherency. We formalized an error-driven learning model that updates preferences to align with past choices, which makes repeating those and related choices more likely in the future. The model correctly predicts that making a free choice increases preferences along related attributes. For example, after choosing a political candidate based on trivial information (e.g., they like cats), voters' views on abortion, immigration, and trade subsequently shifted to match their chosen candidate.

Type: Article
Title: How decisions and the desire for coherency shape subjective preferences over time
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104244
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2020.104244
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Choice-induced preference change, Decision making, Free choice, Intrinsic motivation, Preference learning
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10094768
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