Attentional Selection Mediates Framing and Risk-Bias Effects

Moshe Glickman, Konstantinos Tsetsos, Marius Usher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Humans display a number of puzzling choice patterns that contradict basic principles of rationality. For example, they show preferences that change as a result of task framing or of adding irrelevant alternatives into the choice set. A recent theory has proposed that such choice and risk biases arise from an attentional mechanism that increases the relative weighting of goal-consistent information and protects the decision from noise after the sensory stage. Here, using a divided-attention method based on the dot-probe technique, we showed that attentional selection toward values congruent with the task goal takes place while participants make choices between alternatives that consist of payoff sequences. Moreover, we demonstrated that the magnitude of this attentional selection predicts risk attitudes, indicating a common underlying cognitive process. The results highlight the dynamic interplay between attention and choice mechanisms in producing framing effects and risk biases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2010-2019
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • computational models
  • decision making
  • framing effects
  • open data
  • open materials
  • risk attitudes
  • selective attention


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