Investigating decision rules with a new experimental design: the EXACT paradigm.
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In the decision-making field, it is important to distinguish between the perceptual process (how information is collected) and the decision rule (the strategy governing decision-making). We propose a new paradigm, called EXogenous ACcumulation Task (EXACT) to disentangle these two components. The paradigm consists of showing a horizontal gauge that represents the probability of receiving a reward at time t and increases with time. The participant is asked to press a button when they want to request a reward. Thus, the perceptual mechanism is hard-coded and does not need to be inferred from the data. Based on this paradigm, we compared four decision rules (Bayes Risk, Reward Rate, Reward/Accuracy, and Modified Reward Rate) and found that participants appeared to behave according to the Modified Reward Rate. We propose a new way of analysing the data by using the accuracy of responses, which can only be inferred in classic RT tasks. Our analysis suggests that several experimental findings such as RT distribution and its relationship with experimental conditions, usually deemed to be the result of a rise-to-threshold process, may be simply explained by the effect of the decision rule employed.
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