Table_1_Context-Dependent Risk Aversion: A Model-Based Approach.PDF

Most research on risk aversion in behavioral science with human subjects has focused on a component of risk aversion that does not adapt itself to context. More recently, studies have explored risk aversion adaptation to changing circumstances in sequential decision-making tasks. It is an open question whether one can identify evidence, at the single subject level, for such risk aversion adaptation. We conducted a behavioral experiment on human subjects, using a sequential decision making task. We developed a model-based approach for estimating the adaptation of risk-taking behavior with single-trial resolution by modeling a subject's goals and internal representation of task contingencies. Using this model-based approach, we estimated the subject-specific adaptation of risk aversion depending on the current task context. We found striking inter-subject variations in the adaptation of risk-taking behavior. We show that these differences can be explained by differences in subjects' internal representations of task contingencies and goals. We discuss that the proposed approach can be adapted to a wide range of experimental paradigms and be used to analyze behavioral measures other than risk aversion.