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Are perceptuo-motor decisions really more optimal than cognitive decisions?

Jarvstad, Andreas, Hahn, Ulrike, Warren, Paul A. and Rushton, Simon K. ORCID: 2014. Are perceptuo-motor decisions really more optimal than cognitive decisions? Cognition 130 (3) , pp. 397-416. 10.1016/j.cognition.2013.09.009

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Human high-level cognitive decisions appear sub-optimal (Kahneman and Slovic, 1982 and Kahneman and Tversky, 1979). Paradoxically, perceptuo-motor decisions appear optimal, or nearly optimal (Trommershäuser, Maloney, & Landy, 2008). Here, we highlight limitations to the comparison of performance between and within domains. These limitations are illustrated by means of two perceptuo-motor decision-making experiments. The results indicate that participants did not optimize fundamental performance-related factors (precision and time usage), even though standard analyses may have classed participants as ‘optimal’. Moreover, simulations and comparisons across our studies demonstrate that optimality depends on task difficulty. Thus, it seems that a standard model of perceptuo-motor decision-making fails to provide an absolute standard of performance. Importantly, this appears to be a limitation of optimal models of human behaviour in general. This, in conjunction with non-trivial evaluative- and methodological differences, suggests that verdicts favouring perceptuo-motor, or perceptual, systems over higher-level cognitive systems in terms of level of performance are premature.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Decision-making; Optimality; Perceptuo-motor; Motor planning
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the CC-BY license.
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0010-0277
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 30 September 2013
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 08:58

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