Robin Vloeberghs

Foto_RVRobin Vloeberghs (KU Leuven) – Sequential effects in decision-making and decision confidence.
(with Anne Urai)

Decision-making is omnipresent in daily life. Many activities such as driving a car or crossing a street while a vehicle is approaching, for example, require to make decisions that are fast and accurate. The scientific literature seems to converge on the notion that when making a decision, we continuously evaluate its accuracy by calculating the likelihood of making a correct decision. This self-evaluation or decision confidence is related to behavior such as seeking additional information before committing to a decision. For example, when a doctor is uncertain about a patient’s diagnose, he or she can recommend an additional diagnostic research. Given its many daily life implications, it is therefore of great importance to understand the role of decision confidence in decision-making and its mechanisms. Importantly, many experiments assume independence between trials. However, this is problematic, especially with an eye towards ecological validity, as a decision is not an isolated event. Rather, it is embedded in a chain of decisions, with sequential dependencies between subsequent decisions. For example, the uncertainty about a patient’s diagnose may cause the doctor to adopt an altered decision-making strategy for the subsequent patient (e.g., more information needs to be accrued before committing to a specific diagnose). Therefore, the aim of the current PhD project is to investigate sequential effects of decision confidence in decision-making. To do so, behavioral experiments, computational modeling (e.g., drift diffusion models) and psycho-physiological methods (e.g., EEG and pupillometry) will be employed.