Neurocomputational Modeling of the Dual-Process Theory of Decision Making and Its Implication for Public Policy Making

Keramati, Mohammad Mahdi | 2009

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  1. Type of Document: M.Sc. Thesis
  2. Language: Farsi
  3. Document No: 39479 (44)
  4. University: Sharif University of Technology
  5. Department: Management and Economics
  6. Advisor(s): Ghaninejad, Moussa
  7. Abstract:
  8. Supported by a rich literature in psychology and neuroscience, the dual-process theory of decision making assumes that individuals’ decisions are made through arbitration between habitual and goal-directed processes within their minds. Whereas the goal-directed system makes decisions after deliberating all positive and negative consequences of each feasible choice, the habitual system make choices based on the habits formed in previous experiences. Although the decisions of the goal-directed system are always more optimal that those of the habitual system, but due to that fact that the goal-directed system is slow, effortful and time-consuming, it is sometimes more efficient to make decisions habitually.
    In the first section of this thesis, a neurocomputational model for the dual-process theory is proposed. Compared to previous models, the proposed model is more biologically plausible and can explain a wider range of behavioral observations. Through numerical simulations of the model in different scenarios, the behavior of the model is compared with reported behavioral data.In the second section, one potential application of the model in public policy evaluation is discussed and the advisability of shock-then-fixed program compared to fixed program in considered. In the fixed program, the government resets the policy instrument from its suboptimal value directly to the optimal value; a value that leads to the maximum possible benefit for the government. By contrast, in the shock-then-fixed program, the policy instrument is first set at an extreme level in order to breakdown the previously formed habits of citizens in a comparatively shorter time. After the shock period, the policy instrument will be set at the optimal value
  9. Keywords:
  10. Policy Making ; Decision Making Dual-Process Theory ; Neurocomputational Modeling ; Habitual Decision Making ; Goal-Directed Decision Making ; Fixed Program ; Shock-Then-Fixed Program

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