Carnegie Mellon University
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The role of inertia in modeling decisions from experience with instance-based learning

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journal contribution
posted on 2012-06-01, 00:00 authored by Varun Dutt, Cleotilde GonzalezCleotilde Gonzalez

One form of inertia is the tendency to repeat the last decision irrespective of the obtained outcomes while making decisions from experience (DFE). A number of computational models based upon the Instance-Based Learning Theory, a theory of DFE, have included different inertia implementations and have shown to simultaneously account for both risk-taking and alternations between alternatives. The role that inertia plays in these models, however, is unclear as the same model without inertia is also able to account for observed risk-taking quite well. This paper demonstrates the predictive benefits of incorporating one particular implementation of inertia in an existing IBL model. We use two large datasets, estimation and competition, from the Technion Prediction Tournament involving a repeated binary-choice task to show that incorporating an inertia mechanism in an IBL model enables it to account for the observed average risk-taking and alternations. Including inertia, however, does not help the model to account for the trends in risk-taking and alternations over trials compared to the IBL model without the inertia mechanism. We generalize the two IBL models, with and without inertia, to the competition set by using the parameters determined in the estimation set. The generalization process demonstrates both the advantages and disadvantages of including inertia in an IBL model.




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