Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The decisions we make are shaped by a lifetime of learning. Past experience guides the way that we encode information in neural systems for perception and valuation, and determines the information we retrieve when making decisions. Distinct literatures have discussed how lifelong learning and local context shape decisions made about sensory signals, propositional information, or economic prospects. Here, we build bridges between these literatures, arguing for common principles of adaptive rationality in perception, cognition, and economic choice. We discuss how a single common framework, based on normative principles of efficient coding and Bayesian inference, can help us understand a myriad of human decision biases, including sensory illusions, adaptive aftereffects, choice history biases, central tendency effects, anchoring effects, contrast effects, framing effects, congruency effects, reference-dependent valuation, nonlinear utility functions, and discretization heuristics. We describe a simple computational framework for explaining these phenomena. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Psychology, Volume 73 is January 2022. Please see for revised estimates.

Original publication




Journal article


Annu Rev Psychol

Publication Date