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The Fox and the Grapes-How Physical Constraints Affect Value Based Decision Making.

Gross J, Woelbert E, Strobel M - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Most foraging decisions of animals involve the trade-off between the value that can be obtained and the associated effort of obtaining.Importantly, this was only the case when items were physically in front of the participants but not when items were presented as text on a computer screen.Our results suggest automatic interactions of motor and valuation processes which are unexplored to this date and may account for irrational decisions that occur when reward is particularly easy to reach.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands; School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
One fundamental question in decision making research is how humans compute the values that guide their decisions. Recent studies showed that people assign higher value to goods that are closer to them, even when physical proximity should be irrelevant for the decision from a normative perspective. This phenomenon, however, seems reasonable from an evolutionary perspective. Most foraging decisions of animals involve the trade-off between the value that can be obtained and the associated effort of obtaining. Anticipated effort for physically obtaining a good could therefore affect the subjective value of this good. In this experiment, we test this hypothesis by letting participants state their subjective value for snack food while the effort that would be incurred when reaching for it was manipulated. Even though reaching was not required in the experiment, we find that willingness to pay was significantly lower when subjects wore heavy wristbands on their arms. Thus, when reaching was more difficult, items were perceived as less valuable. Importantly, this was only the case when items were physically in front of the participants but not when items were presented as text on a computer screen. Our results suggest automatic interactions of motor and valuation processes which are unexplored to this date and may account for irrational decisions that occur when reward is particularly easy to reach.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Wristbands used in the experiment.In the weight condition each wristband held ten metal bars, which add up to 4.5 kilograms (9.9 pounds) of weight. In the no weight condition all metal bars were removed.
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pone.0127619.g001: Wristbands used in the experiment.In the weight condition each wristband held ten metal bars, which add up to 4.5 kilograms (9.9 pounds) of weight. In the no weight condition all metal bars were removed.

Mentions: Within subject, we manipulated the effort associated with making a reaching movement by attaching wristbands around the lower arms of our participants (see Fig 1). No explanation was given about the nature or the purpose of the wristbands. Each wristband could hold 10 metal bars, weighing 4.5 kilograms (9.9 pounds) in total (see Fig 1). For half of the items, each participant wore the wristbands with the bars (weight condition), for the other half of the items they wore the wristbands without the bars (no weight condition). Participants were instructed to sit such that the elbows were supported by the armrests of the chair and the wrists rested on their thighs. This was done to ensure that they were aware of the weight, but did not exert effort to hold the weight. The wristbands with weight would have made it significantly more demanding for the participants to grasp an item placed in front of them, but at no point during the experiment did they actually reach for an item, nor were they instructed to imagine any movements. Participants were provided with a small numeric keypad they held in their hands, which allowed them to enter their willingness to pay, liking, wanting and familiarity ratings without moving their arms.


The Fox and the Grapes-How Physical Constraints Affect Value Based Decision Making.

Gross J, Woelbert E, Strobel M - PLoS ONE (2015)

Wristbands used in the experiment.In the weight condition each wristband held ten metal bars, which add up to 4.5 kilograms (9.9 pounds) of weight. In the no weight condition all metal bars were removed.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4464737&req=5

pone.0127619.g001: Wristbands used in the experiment.In the weight condition each wristband held ten metal bars, which add up to 4.5 kilograms (9.9 pounds) of weight. In the no weight condition all metal bars were removed.
Mentions: Within subject, we manipulated the effort associated with making a reaching movement by attaching wristbands around the lower arms of our participants (see Fig 1). No explanation was given about the nature or the purpose of the wristbands. Each wristband could hold 10 metal bars, weighing 4.5 kilograms (9.9 pounds) in total (see Fig 1). For half of the items, each participant wore the wristbands with the bars (weight condition), for the other half of the items they wore the wristbands without the bars (no weight condition). Participants were instructed to sit such that the elbows were supported by the armrests of the chair and the wrists rested on their thighs. This was done to ensure that they were aware of the weight, but did not exert effort to hold the weight. The wristbands with weight would have made it significantly more demanding for the participants to grasp an item placed in front of them, but at no point during the experiment did they actually reach for an item, nor were they instructed to imagine any movements. Participants were provided with a small numeric keypad they held in their hands, which allowed them to enter their willingness to pay, liking, wanting and familiarity ratings without moving their arms.

Bottom Line: Most foraging decisions of animals involve the trade-off between the value that can be obtained and the associated effort of obtaining.Importantly, this was only the case when items were physically in front of the participants but not when items were presented as text on a computer screen.Our results suggest automatic interactions of motor and valuation processes which are unexplored to this date and may account for irrational decisions that occur when reward is particularly easy to reach.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands; School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
One fundamental question in decision making research is how humans compute the values that guide their decisions. Recent studies showed that people assign higher value to goods that are closer to them, even when physical proximity should be irrelevant for the decision from a normative perspective. This phenomenon, however, seems reasonable from an evolutionary perspective. Most foraging decisions of animals involve the trade-off between the value that can be obtained and the associated effort of obtaining. Anticipated effort for physically obtaining a good could therefore affect the subjective value of this good. In this experiment, we test this hypothesis by letting participants state their subjective value for snack food while the effort that would be incurred when reaching for it was manipulated. Even though reaching was not required in the experiment, we find that willingness to pay was significantly lower when subjects wore heavy wristbands on their arms. Thus, when reaching was more difficult, items were perceived as less valuable. Importantly, this was only the case when items were physically in front of the participants but not when items were presented as text on a computer screen. Our results suggest automatic interactions of motor and valuation processes which are unexplored to this date and may account for irrational decisions that occur when reward is particularly easy to reach.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus