Working memory and attention in choice.

Journal article


Rustichini, A., Domenech, P., Civai, C. and DeYoung, Colin G (2023). Working memory and attention in choice. PLoS ONE. 18 (10), p. e0284127. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0284127
AuthorsRustichini, A., Domenech, P., Civai, C. and DeYoung, Colin G
AbstractWe study the role of attention and working memory in choices where options are presented sequentially rather than simultaneously. We build a model where a costly attention effort is chosen, which can vary over time. Evidence is accumulated proportionally to this effort and the utility of the reward. Crucially, the evidence accumulated decays over time. Optimal attention allocation maximizes expected utility from final choice; the optimal solution takes the decay into account, so attention is preferentially devoted to later times; but convexity of the flow attention cost prevents it from being concentrated near the end. We test this model with a choice experiment where participants observe sequentially two options. In our data the option presented first is, everything else being equal, significantly less likely to be chosen. This recency effect has a natural explanation with appropriate parameter values in our model of leaky evidence accumulation, where the decline is stronger for the option observed first. Analysis of choice, response time and brain imaging data provide support for the model. Working memory plays an essential role. The recency bias is stronger for participants with weaker performance in working memory tasks. Also activity in parietal areas, coding the stored value in working, declines over time as predicted.
KeywordsBrain; Humans; Memory, Short-Term; Reward; Choice Behavior; Attention; Reaction Time
Year2023
JournalPLoS ONE
Journal citation18 (10), p. e0284127
PublisherPublic Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN1932-6203
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0284127
Web address (URL)https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0284127
Funder/ClientNIDA NIH HHS
National Institute of Health
Army Research Office
National Science Foundation
Publication dates
Online11 Oct 2023
Print01 Jan 2023
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Oct 2023
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
LicenseCC BY
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