Journal article

People learn other people's preferences through inverse decision-making

Alan Jern, Christopher G Lucas, Charles Kemp

COGNITION | ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV | Published : 2017

Abstract

People are capable of learning other people's preferences by observing the choices they make. We propose that this learning relies on inverse decision-making-inverting a decision-making model to infer the preferences that led to an observed choice. In Experiment 1, participants observed 47 choices made by others and ranked them by how strongly each choice suggested that the decision maker had a preference for a specific item. An inverse decision-making model generated predictions that were in accordance with participants' inferences. Experiment 2 replicated and extended a previous study by Newtson (1974) in which participants observed pairs of choices and made judgments about which choice pr..

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Grants

Awarded by NSF Grant


Awarded by NIMH Training Grant


Awarded by NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH


Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Dale Bremmer, Andrew Kemp, George Loewenstein, Mark Steyvers, Erte Xiao, Yuting Zhang, and multiple anonymous reviewers for feedback on the manuscript. Preliminary versions of this work were presented at the Cognitive Science and NIPS conferences. This work was supported by the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse Opportunity Fund and by NSF Grant CDI-0835797. Alan Jern was supported in part by NIMH Training Grant T32MH019983. Icons in Fig. 1 were made by Freepik (http://www.freepik.com) and are licensed by CC BY 3.0.