Our lives are riddled with decisions: Which route to work should I take? Where to go for lunch? Where should I spend my holidays?
These decisions often have a social aspect: Which route should I recommend to my co-workers? Who should I have lunch with? Who can recommend me on holiday locations?
Sometimes we make decisions that affect other people, or make decisions together. In other cases, our decisions concern other people, for example when we choose who to date, who to learn from, and what information to share with others. Other decisions are affected by our broader social environment, our culture and group identity, for example moral, political or fashion decisions.
We aim to understand the cognitive, computational and neural basis of social decision making. We use behavioural tasks online and in the lab, where participants can make decisions alone, or together with other participants. We use game-theory and machine learning models to explain the cognitive processes that drive participants’ behaviour, and to draw predictions for other decision-making scenarios. We use neuroimaging to understand the neural mechanisms supporting the participants’ behaviour, as captured by our models. We also try to examine clinical populations to underscore the social-cognitive deficits associated with different psychiatric disorders using our models and tasks.
Every morning most people have to pick a route to work. While the shortest route may be consistently busy, others may be more variable, changing from day to day. The choice of which route to take impacts the commuting time and is ridden with uncertainty. In this project we examine how decision confidence is affected by outcome uncertainty. We found that when choosing between two uncertain options people’s confidence can be best explained as the probability of exceeding an acceptability threshold. Our commuter’s stochastic satisficing heuristic could then be expressed as "which route is more likely to get me to work before X o'clock?"
Read it here.