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1 Janelia Publications

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    09/02/19 | Idiosyncratic choice bias in decision tasks naturally emerges from neuronal network dynamics.
    Lebovich L, Darshan R, Lavi Y, Hansel D, Loewenstein Y
    Nature Human Behavior. 2019 Sep 02;3(11):1190-1202. doi: 10.1101/284877

    Idiosyncratic tendency to choose one alternative over others in the absence of an identified reason, is a common observation in two-alternative forced-choice experiments. It is tempting to account for it as resulting from the (unknown) participant-specific history and thus treat it as a measurement noise. Indeed, idiosyncratic choice biases are typically considered as nuisance. Care is taken to account for them by adding an ad-hoc bias parameter or by counterbalancing the choices to average them out. Here we quantify idiosyncratic choice biases in a perceptual discrimination task and a motor task. We report substantial and significant biases in both cases. Then, we present theoretical evidence that even in idealized experiments, in which the settings are symmetric, idiosyncratic choice bias is expected to emerge from the dynamics of competing neuronal networks. We thus argue that idiosyncratic choice bias reflects the microscopic dynamics of choice and therefore is virtually inevitable in any comparison or decision task.

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