University of Kentucky
Presidential Address: The Behavioral Origins of Human Suboptimal Choice
Humans choose suboptimally when, for example, (1) they engage in games of chance (commercial gambling, e.g., slot machines, lottery tickets), (2) when less is valued over more (e.g., a bronze medal makes the recipient happier than a silver medal), and (3) when past investment affects future choice (sunk cost). We have found that all three effects and others can be demonstrated in animals. The implication of these findings is that these behaviors are not uniquely human and have basic behavioral origins.