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If You Only Saw What I Saw: Modeling Heterogeneous Experiences and the Description-Experience Gap

Mr. James Adaryukov
University of Kansas ~ Psychology
Daniel Cavagnaro
California State University, Fullerton ~ Department of Information Systems and Decision Sciences
Tim Pleskac
Indiana University ~ Psychological and Brain Sciences
Michel Regenwetter
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ~ Psychology

The decision-making literature has explored the idea of a Description-Experience Gap: that people overweight rare events when those events are described and underweight rare events when they are experienced. Some work establishing this gap has ignored the variability in choices between and within individuals, limiting the conclusions that can be drawn about preference differences between described vs. experienced gambles. Regenwetter and Robinson (2017) established how QTest could address these limitations, allowing users to implement a set of probabilistic choice models to conduct order-constrained hypothesis tests on the description-experience gap. However, their initial implementation ignored one key source of heterogeneity: experience. Here, we extend these probabilistic choice models to account for the heterogeneity of experience. We show how choice models that treat experienced proportions of outcomes as best guesses of their probabilities ---i.e., of the objective probabilities that determine the likelihoods of experienced outcomes---can be more parsimonious than models that use those objective probabilities directly. We use this more extensive set of models to test for the description-experience gap and to identify its source.



models of choice
decisions from experience

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Cite this as:

Adaryukov, J., Cavagnaro, D., Pleskac, T., & Regenwetter, M. (2023, July). If You Only Saw What I Saw: Modeling Heterogeneous Experiences and the Description-Experience Gap. Abstract published at MathPsych/ICCM/EMPG 2023. Via