The unbearable lightness of value: how social signals and uncertainty mould value computation
Most of the decisions we make are value-based choices, and these range from the most trivial ones (“What should I have for lunch?”) to the most important choices that we make in our lives (“Shall I sell my house?” “Shall I have this surgical procedure”). Contrary to perceptual choice the the value estimates that underpin value-based decisions are far from stable, and they show a surprising susceptibility to contextual information (e.g. how options are presented) but also social signals (e.g. the intentions of other people). Furthermore, they heavily depend on the internal state and goals of the decision-maker. In my talk I will highlight how these computations can be moulded by subtle contextual information such as intentions of other people and how this mechanism can elicit suboptimal behaviour when we interact with complex institutions like financial markets. I will then discuss the relation between the computation of value and uncertainty and propose a new computational account how uncertainty during value-based computation impacts on the quality of our choice.