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Value Estimation and Comparison in Multi-Attribute Choice


Fisher, Geoffrey W. (2015) Value Estimation and Comparison in Multi-Attribute Choice. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z9ZP441D.


The following work explores the processes individuals utilize when making multi-attribute choices. With the exception of extremely simple or familiar choices, most decisions we face can be classified as multi-attribute choices. In order to evaluate and make choices in such an environment, we must be able to estimate and weight the particular attributes of an option. Hence, better understanding the mechanisms involved in this process is an important step for economists and psychologists. For example, when choosing between two meals that differ in taste and nutrition, what are the mechanisms that allow us to estimate and then weight attributes when constructing value? Furthermore, how can these mechanisms be influenced by variables such as attention or common physiological states, like hunger?

In order to investigate these and similar questions, we use a combination of choice and attentional data, where the attentional data was collected by recording eye movements as individuals made decisions. Chapter 1 designs and tests a neuroeconomic model of multi-attribute choice that makes predictions about choices, response time, and how these variables are correlated with attention. Chapter 2 applies the ideas in this model to intertemporal decision-making, and finds that attention causally affects discount rates. Chapter 3 explores how hunger, a common physiological state, alters the mechanisms we utilize as we make simple decisions about foods.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:value estimation, multi-attribute choice, attention
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Humanities and Social Sciences
Major Option:Behavioral and Social Neuroscience
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Rangel, Antonio
Thesis Committee:
  • Rangel, Antonio (chair)
  • Agranov, Marina
  • Saito, Kota
  • Gillen, Benjamin J.
Defense Date:12 May 2015
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05172015-200111758
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle adapted for chapter 3
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8862
Deposited By: Geoffrey Fisher
Deposited On:22 May 2015 16:33
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 00:07

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PDF (Thesis) - Final Version
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