The Influence of Contexts on Decision-Making

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The Influence of Contexts on Decision-Making

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Title: The Influence of Contexts on Decision-Making
Author: Gal, Ya'akov; Grosz, Barbara J.; Pfeffer, Avi; Shieber, Stuart Merrill ORCID  0000-0002-7733-8195 ; Allain, Alex

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Citation: Gal, Ya'akov, Barbara J. Grosz, Avi Pfeffer, Stuart Shieber, and Alex Allain. 2007. The Influence of Contexts on Decision-Making. Harvard Computer Science Group Technical Report TR-03-07
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Abstract: Many environments in which people and computer agents interact involve deploying resources to accomplish tasks and satisfy goals. This paper investigates the way that the contextual setting in which decisions are made affects the behavior of people and the performance of computer agents that interact with people in such environments. It presents experiments that measured negotiation behavior in two types of contextual settings. One provided a task context that made explicit the relationship between goals, tasks and resources, The other provided a completely abstract context in which the payoffs for all decision choices were listed. Results show that people are more helpful, less selfish, and less competitive when making decisions in task contexts than when making them in completely abstract contexts. Further, their overall performance was better in task contexts. A predictive computational model that was trained on data obtained in task contexts outperformed a model that was trained under abstract contexts. These results indicate that modeling the way people make decisions in context is essential for the design of computer agents that will interact with people.
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