DFT-D: a cognitive-dynamical model of dynamic decision making

Synthese 189 (S1):67-80 (2012)

Abstract
The study of decision making has traditionally been dominated by axiomatic utility theories. More recently, an alternative approach, which focuses on the micro-mechanisms of the underlying deliberation process, has been shown to account for several "paradoxes" in human choice behavior for which simple utility-based approaches cannot. Decision field theory (DFT) is a cognitive-dynamical model of decision making and preferential choice, built on the fundamental principle that decisions are based on the accumulation of subjective evaluations of choice alternatives until a threshold criterion is met. This article extends the basic DFT framework to the domain of dynamic decision making. DFT-Dynamic is proposed as a new alternative to normative backward induction. Through its attention to the processes underlying planning and deliberation DFT-D provides simple, emergent explanations for violations of choice principles traditionally taken as evidence of irrationality. A recent multistage decision making study is used to showcase the model's efficacy for developing cognitive models of individual strategies
Keywords Cognitive models  Dynamic decision making  Dynamic consistency  Planning  Decision trees  Sequential sampling  Preferential choice  DFT
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-012-0157-0
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