Deciding How To Decide: Self-Control and Meta-Decision Making

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

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

63 Scopus citations

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 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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