Deciding How To Decide

Self-Control and Meta-Decision Making

Y. Lan Boureau, Peter Sokol-Hessner, Nathaniel D. Daw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Many different situations related to self control involve competition between two routes to decisions: default and frugal versus more resource-intensive. Examples include habits versus deliberative decisions, fatigue versus cognitive effort, and Pavlovian versus instrumental decision making. We propose that these situations are linked by a strikingly similar core dilemma, pitting the opportunity costs of monopolizing shared resources such as executive functions for some time, against the possibility of obtaining a better outcome. We offer a unifying normative perspective on this underlying rational meta-optimization, review how this may tie together recent advances in many separate areas, and connect several independent models. Finally, we suggest that the crucial mechanisms and meta-decision variables may be shared across domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)700-710
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Volume19
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

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Executive Function
Habits
Fatigue
Decision Making
Costs and Cost Analysis
Self-Control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

Cite this

Deciding How To Decide : Self-Control and Meta-Decision Making. / Boureau, Y. Lan; Sokol-Hessner, Peter; Daw, Nathaniel D.

In: Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 19, No. 11, 01.11.2015, p. 700-710.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Boureau, Y. Lan ; Sokol-Hessner, Peter ; Daw, Nathaniel D. / Deciding How To Decide : Self-Control and Meta-Decision Making. In: Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 2015 ; Vol. 19, No. 11. pp. 700-710.
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