Timothy J. Pleskac

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The 3 most often-used performance measures in the cognitive and decision sciences are choice, response or decision time, and confidence. We develop a random walk/diffusion theory-2-stage dynamic signal detection (2DSD) theory-that accounts for all 3 measures using a common underlying process. The model uses a drift diffusion process to account for choice(More)
The distinction between risk and uncertainty is deeply entrenched in psychologists’ and economists’ thinking. Knight (1921), to whom it is frequently attributed, however, went beyond this dichotomy. Within the domain of risk, he set apart a priori and statistical probabilities, a distinction that maps onto that between decisions from description and(More)
The recognition heuristic uses a recognition decision to make an inference about an unknown variable in the world. Theories of recognition memory typically use a signal detection framework to predict this binary recognition decision. In this article, I integrate the recognition heuristic with signal detection theory to formally investigate how judges use(More)
Risky prospects come in different forms. Sometimes options are presented with convenient descriptions summarizing outcomes and their respective likelihoods. People can thus make decisions from description. In other cases people must call on their encounters with such prospects, making decisions from experience. Recent studies report a systematic and large(More)
This article models the cognitive processes underlying learning and sequential choice in a risk-taking task for the purposes of understanding how they occur in this moderately complex environment and how behavior in it relates to self-reported real-world risk taking. The best stochastic model assumes that participants incorrectly treat outcome probabilities(More)
Sequential sampling models provide a useful framework for understanding human decision making. A key component of these models is an evidence accumulation process in which information is accrued over time to a threshold, at which point a choice is made. Previous neurophysiological studies on perceptual decision making have suggested accumulation occurs only(More)
In many decisions we cannot consult explicit statistics telling us about the risks involved in our actions. In lieu of such data, we can arrive at an understanding of our dicey options by sampling from them. The size of the samples that we take determines, ceteris paribus, how good our choices will be. Studies of decisions from experience have observed that(More)
A sequential risk-taking paradigm used to identify real-world risk takers invokes both learning and decision processes. This article expands the paradigm to a larger class of tasks with different stochastic environments and different learning requirements. Generalizing a Bayesian sequential risk-taking model to the larger set of tasks clarifies the roles of(More)
In life, risk is reward and vice versa. Unfortunately, the big rewards people desire are relatively unlikely to occur. This relationship between risk and reward or probabilities and payoffs seems obvious to the financial community and to laypeople alike. Yet theories of decision making have largely ignored it. We conducted an ecological analysis of life's(More)
Sequential risk-taking tasks, especially the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART), have proven powerful and useful methods in studying and identifying real-world risk takers. A natural index in these tasks is the average number of risks the participant takes in a trial (e.g., pumps on the balloons), but this is difficult to estimate because some trials(More)