Expected utility violations evolve under status-based selection mechanisms

Eric Dickson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The expected utility theory of decision making under uncertainty, a cornerstone of modern economics, assumes that humans linearly weight "utilities" for different possible outcomes by the probabilities with which these outcomes occur. Despite the theory's intuitive appeal, both from normative and from evolutionary perspectives, many experiments demonstrate systematic, though poorly understood, patterns of deviation from EU predictions. This paper offers a novel theoretical account of such patterns of deviation by demonstrating that EU violations can emerge from evolutionary selection when individual "status" affects inclusive fitness. In humans, battles for resources and social standing involve high-stakes decision making, and assortative mating ensures that status matters for fitness outcomes. The paper therefore proposes grounding the study of decision making under uncertainty in an evolutionary game-theoretic framework.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)650-654
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
    Volume254
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 7 2008

    Fingerprint

    Expected Utility
    decision making
    Decision Making
    Decision making
    Fitness
    Uncertainty
    uncertainty
    Deviation
    Economics
    Utility Theory
    Evolutionary Game
    assortative mating
    Appeal
    Electric grounding
    human resources
    Intuitive
    Linearly
    Weights and Measures
    economics
    Resources

    Keywords

    • Behavioral ecology
    • Decision making under uncertainty
    • Evolutionary game theory

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Statistics and Probability
    • Medicine(all)
    • Modeling and Simulation
    • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
    • Applied Mathematics

    Cite this

    Expected utility violations evolve under status-based selection mechanisms. / Dickson, Eric.

    In: Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 254, No. 3, 07.10.2008, p. 650-654.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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