What Is the Role of Social Value on Complex Decision-Making Tasks?
Playfair, Katherine Rene
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AbstractHumans are faced with numerous complex decisions each day, whether that be driving to work or playing a game of chess. Each of these decisions bears significant computational cost, making it near impossible to individually consider each option in a sequence of decisions. Prior research has identified several strategies people use to reduce the complexity of such decisions by eliminating entire sub-trees in sequential choices. One of the more prominent strategies, pruning, defines the way humans excise sub-trees that require going through a large negative rewards. We confirmed the presence of pruning in a decision-making task where subjects were asked to maximize their rewards that benefited themselves. We then explored how the role of social value rather than personal reward impacts the pruning parameter. Given that most decisions humans make do not occur in isolation and therefore impact others, we investigated the pruning parameter in a similar task that occurred in a social context. We confirmed prior research stating that the pruning model was more parsimonious than most others and additionally concluded that humans prune more when acting on the behalf of others. We therefore propose that the moral obligation introduced in social settings leads people to limit the subset of possible decisions they consider, causing them to prune more frequently.
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