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Accumulating advantages: a new conceptualization of rapid multiple choice

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 06:56 authored by van Ravenzwaaij, D, Brown, SD, Marley, AAJ, Heathcote, A
Independent racing evidence-accumulator models have proven fruitful in advancing understanding of rapid decisions, mainly in the case of binary choice, where they can be relatively easily estimated and are known to account for a range of benchmark phenomena. Typically, such models assume a one-to-one mapping between accumulators and responses. We explore an alternative independent-race framework where more than one accumulator can be associated with each response, and where a response is triggered when a sufficient number of accumulators associated with that response reach their thresholds. Each accumulator is primarily driven by the difference in evidence supporting one vs. another response (i.e., that response’s “advantage”), with secondary inputs corresponding to the total evidence for both responses and a constant term. We use Brown and Heathcote’s (2008) LBA to instantiate the framework in a mathematically tractable measurement model (i.e., a model whose parameters can be successfully recovered from data). We show this “Advantage LBA” model provides a detailed quantitative account of a variety of benchmark binary and multiple choice phenomena that traditional independent accumulator models struggle with; in binary choice the effects of additive versus multiplicative changes to input values, and in multiple choice the effects of manipulations of the strength of lure (i.e., non-target) stimuli and Hick’s Law. We conclude that the Advantage LBA provides a tractable new avenue for understanding the dynamics of decisions among multiple choices.


Publication title

Psychological Review








School of Psychological Sciences


Amer Psychological Assoc

Place of publication

750 First St Ne, Washington, USA, Dc, 20002-4242

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Copyright 2019 American Psychological Association

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Expanding knowledge in psychology

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