Evaluating Transformative Decisions

Vladimir Chituc, L. A. Paul, M. J. Crockett

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Recent philosophical work has taken interest in the decision-theoretic problems posed by transformative experiences, or experiences that are epistemically revelatory and life-changing (like becoming a parent). The problem is roughly as follows: if we cannot know what it’s like to be a parent (its subjective value) before actually becoming one, then how are we to decide whether to become one? This topic has received recent empirical attention, some of which has challenged the central importance of subjective value for transformative decision-making. Here, we present empirical work that suggest these findings can be explained by the evaluability bias, in which people weigh decision criteria not based on their importance, but how easy they are to evaluate. Participants not only find subjective value important, but they report willing to pay a great deal of money to get this information. Furthermore, participants who were most uncertain about whether to undergo a transformative decision we most likely to report interest in seeking out information about subjective value. We conclude by considering the philosophical and empirical implications of this work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2021
Event43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Comparative Cognition: Animal Minds, CogSci 2021 - Virtual, Online, Austria
Duration: Jul 26 2021Jul 29 2021


Conference43rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Comparative Cognition: Animal Minds, CogSci 2021
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction


  • Experimental Philosophy
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Subjective Value
  • Transformative Experience


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