This research examined choice behaviour and probability judgement in a counterintuitive reasoning problem called the Monty Hall problem (MHP). In Experiments 1 and 2 we examined whether learning from a simulated card game similar to the MHP affected how people solved the MHP. Results indicated that the experience with the card game affected participants' choice behaviour, in that participants selected to switch in the MHP. However, it did not affect their understanding of the objective probabilities. This suggests that there is (...) dissociation between implicit knowledge gained from the task and the explicit understanding as to why switching was the best strategy. In Experiment 3, the number of prizes and doors were manipulated to examine how participants construed the problem space of the MHP. Results revealed that participants partition the probability judgement to reflect the number of prizes over the number of unopened doors. (shrink)
Decision-makers frequently struggle to base their choices on an exhaustive evaluation of all options at stake. This is particularly so when the choice problem at hand is complex, because the available alternatives are hard to compare. Rather than striving to choose the most valuable alternative, in such situations decision-makers often settle for the choice of an alternative which is not inferior to any other available alternative instead. In this paper, we extend two established models of boundedly rational choice, the categorize (...) then choose heuristic and the rational shortlist method, to incorporate this kind of “indecisive” choice behavior. We study some properties of these extensions and provide full behavioral characterizations. (shrink)
This paper shows how alternative, culturally-determined motivational forces can be substituted for self-interest or rationality in the theory of choice. Several possibilities are considered, including the replacement of preference optimization by such propellants as the selection of the `second best' or the `central' option. It is argued that although all choice behavior, even that consistent with the alternatives considered, can ultimately be understood as satisfying the criterion of rationality, richer and more meaningful explanation is obtained by focusing on culturally (...) significant alternative motivations when the latter turn out, in particular environments, to be more important than self-interest. (shrink)
I argue that (1) the accusation that psychological methods are too diverse conflates “reliability” with “validity”; (2) one must not choose methods by the results they produce – what matters is whether a method acceptably models the real-world situation one is trying to understand; (3) one must also distinguish methodological failings from differences that arise from the pursuit of different theoretical questions.
Analysis of ethical conduct of business organizations has hitherto placed primary emphasis on the conduct of that corporation’smanagers because ethical conduct, like all conduct, must manifest itself through individual behavior. This paper argues that in the realworld corporate actions are influenced, to a considerable extent, by external market-based conditions. Therefore, a more comprehensive explanation of ethical business conduct must incorporate both corporate, i.e., internal considerations, and competitive, industry structure-based, i.e., external considerations. A framework is presented that provides a systematic (...) analysis of the interactive effect between different types of external market-based competitive conditions, institutional opportunities to engage in ethical behavior, and the likelihood that corporations would do so. The analytical framework leads to recommendations as to the types of actions that might be more effective in improving business ethical conduct under varying sets of market-based competitive conditions. (shrink)
The industrialization of agriculture not only alters the ways in which agricultural production occurs, but it also impacts the decisions farmers make in important ways. First, constraints created by the economic environment of farming limit what options a farmer has available to him. Second, because of the industrialization of agriculture and the resulting economic pressures it creates for farmers, the fact that decisions are constrained creates new ethical challenges for farmers. Having fewer options when faced with severe economic pressures is (...) a very different situation for farmers than having many options available. We discuss the implications of constrained choice and show that it increases the likelihood that farmers will consider unethical behavior. (shrink)
Game-theoretic explanations of behavior need supplementation to be descriptive; behavior has multiple causes, only some governed by traditional rationality. An evolutionarily informed theory of action countenances overlapping causal domains: neurobiological, psychological, and rational. Colman's discussion is insufficient because he neither evaluates learning models nor qualifies under what conditions his propositions hold. Still, inability to incorporate emotions in axiomatic models highlights the need for a comprehensive theory of functional rationality.
This article traces a normative turn between the middle of the 1940s and the early 1950s reflected in the reformulation, interpretation, and use of rational choice theories at the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics. This turn is paralleled by a transition from Jacob Marschak’s to Tjalling Koopmans’s research program. While rational choice theories initially raised high hopes that they would serve as empirical accounts to inform testable hypotheses about economic regularities, they became increasingly modified and interpreted as normative approaches (...) offering behavioral recommendations for individual agents, organizations, government, and teams. The predefined elements constitutive of these accounts, inspired by simple rules of logic, were now meant to represent the basic demands of rationality and theories of rational decision making specified rules of conduct that were meant to shape rather than explain behavior. (shrink)
In discussing rational choice theory (RCT) as an explanation of demand behavior, Becker (1962, Journal of Political Economy, 70, 1?13) proposed a model of random choice in which consumers pick a bundle on their budget line according to a uniform distribution. This model has then been used in various ways to assess the validity of RCT and to support as-if arguments in defense of it. This paper makes both historical and methodological contributions. Historically, it investigates how the interpretation of (...) Becker random behavior evolved between the original 1962 article and the modern experimental literature on individual demand, and surveys six experiments in which it has been used as an alternative hypothesis to RCT. Methodologically, this paper conducts an assessment of the as-if defense of RCT from the standpoint of Becker's model. It argues that this defense is ?weak? in a number of senses, and that it has negatively influenced the design of experiments about RCT. (shrink)
While Rational Choice Theory (RC) may be understood as a theory of choice, which does not necessarily reflect actual deliberative processes, rule-following behavior is definitely based on a certain form of delibera- tion. This article aims at clarifying the relationship between the two. Being guided by instrumental rules, i.e., rules reducible to the maximiza- tion principle, is perfectly consistent with the fundamental behavioral assumptions of RC. But human individuals use other forms of rules in decision making, especially tie-breaking rules (...) and coordination rules. It is argued that within RC no satisfying account of such rule-following behav- ior can be given. In particular it is impossible to determine suitable pref- erence orderings such that coordinating may be understood as maximizing relative to these orderings. Still, once there is coordination, following a coordination rule may be perfectly consistent with the basic assumptions of RC. So there might be a more complex theory of action that incorpo- rates RC as well as a satisfying theory of rule-guided behavior. (shrink)
Critics have argued that behaviorism must necessarily be inadequate to account for complex human behavior whereas cognitive psychology is adequate to account for such behavior. Recently, Fodor has focused this criticism on certain situations in which humans choose among a set of alternatives. We argue that this criticism applies to forms of behaviorism that are reductionistic but not to non-reductionistic behaviorisms like that of Skinner. Non-reductionistic behaviorism can be used to interpret human choice situations of varying degrees of (...) complexity. Such interpretations run into difficulty in accounting for certain aspects of verbal behavior, but so do cognitive theories. Although nothing, in principle, prohibits either type of theory from accounting for complex human behavior, neither current behavioral theory nor current cognitive theory is developed enough at the present time to do so. (shrink)
This paper develops a semantic solution to the puzzle of Free Choice permission. The paper begins with a battery of impossibility results showing that Free Choice is in tension with a variety of classical principles, including Disjunction Introduction and the Law of Excluded Middle. Most interestingly, Free Choice appears incompatible with a principle concerning the behavior of Free Choice under negation, Double Prohibition, which says that Mary can’t have soup or salad implies Mary can’t have soup and Mary can’t (...) have salad. Alonso-Ovalle 2006 and others have appealed to Double Prohibition to motivate pragmatic accounts of Free Choice. Aher 2012, Aloni 2018, and others have developed semantic accounts of Free Choice that also explain Double Prohibition. -/- This paper offers a new semantic analysis of Free Choice designed to handle the full range of impossibility results involved in Free Choice. The paper develops the hypothesis that Free Choice is a homogeneity effect. The claim possibly A or B is defined only when A and B are homogenous with respect to their modal status, either both possible or both impossible. Paired with a notion of entailment that is sensitive to definedness conditions, this theory validates Free Choice while retaining a wide variety of classical principles except for the transitivity of entailment. The homogeneity hypothesis is implemented in two different ways, homogeneous alternative semantics and homogeneous dynamic semantics, with interestingly different consequences. (shrink)