Commentary/Bentley et al: Mapping collective behavior thing, then, is not to provide too much infomiation, but rather to provide the infonnation relevant to the agent (see Fig. 1).
Capturing the essence of decision making should not be oversimplified doi:10.1017/S0140525X1300174X Ewa Joanna Godziñska and Andrzej Wróbel Department of Neurophysiology, Nenci
Abstract: Bentley et aL propose a thought-provoking approach to the que.stion of causal factors underlying human choice behavior. Tlieir map model is interesting, but too simplified to capture the essence of decision maldng. They disregai'd, among other matters, qualitative differences between various subcategories of social influences, and the role of neurobiological factors engaged in interdependent individual and social decision-making processes.
Bentley et al. have created a simple map-like model of selected determinants of human decision-making behavior, focusing attention on two factors: (1) the degree to which a decision is independent versus socially influenced (axis 1 of the map), and (2) the degree of transparency conceming the consequences of vaiious decisions in terms of payoff and/or risk (axis 2). We agree that these factors play an important role in human decisionmaking processes, but we are not convinced that tlie map model of Bentley et al. wiU allow us, as stated by its authors, to "capture the essence of decision making" (tai'get article. Abstract). Below we discuss the main shortcomings of their model. Many aspects of the map model of Bentley et al. are simpHñed, some of them deliberately. The authors argue that "the map requires a few simplifying assumptions to prevent it from morphing into something so large that it loses its usefulness for generating potentially fruitful research hypotheses" (target article, sect. 2, para. 7). However, such an approach raises a question as to what degree such a simplified model still provides a useful representation of the analyzed phenomena. The authors seem to share these doubts, as they recommend further research to explore the effects of factors deliberately disregarded in their model. Extensive research in the field of behavioral biology and social psychology has yielded numerous data demonstrating that social influences mediating choice behavior of animals and humans show a high degree of qualitative diversity. Bentley et al. are aware of die existence of various subcategories of social influences and name some of them (copying, verbal instruction, imitation). However, they quantify the impact of social influences on decision making in a very simplified way, solely by providing information on the degree to which a decision is socially influenced. Qualitative differences between various subcategories of social influences are disregarded. As a consequence, a decision half-influenced by imitation of decisions of other agents ("herdlike" behavior) and a decision influenced to the same degree by avoidance of imitation (nonconformist behavior) would occupy the same position on their map. Distinctions between different strategies employed in decision making are tlius blurred instead of being emphasized. We may also note that the authors tend to identify social linking witli herdlike behavior and pay little or no attention to social interactions leading to enhanced diversity of behavior. Yet another set of problems is related to the fact that the map model proposed in the target article represents a continuous space defined by the two analytical dimensions, but the authors have divided it into four quadrants "for ease of discussion and application to example datasets" (target article, sect. 2, para. 7), and throughout their article tliey discuss various social phenomena
mostly by assigning them to one of these quadrants, without any attempt to identify tlieir exact position on the map. So, ultimately, tliey mostly use a discrete 2x2 matrix and not a continuous map. Such simplification has, however, some merits, too, as it puts aside the need to quantify precisely die analyzed phenomena by assigning to them the values of variables representing die two axes of the map, and it is far from obvious how to make the measurements of values of these variables or even to provide reliable estimations of them. However, diat question must find a satisfactoiy solution if Bentley et al.'s map model is to be assigned to the domain of empirical science and give rise to testable hypotheses. The audiors also pay no attention to the fact that the degree of transparency conceming the consequences of various decisions is socially influenced. Therefore, the two axes of the map model of Bentley et al. are not independent: social influences may affect the choice process in two ways, directly (axis 1) and indirectly (axis 2). This raises an additional difficulty in assigning values to variables forming the axes of the map model. We should also bear in mind that information obtained from other individuals may enhance the transparency conceming the consequences of decisions, but it may also be involuntarily or puiposefully misleading (the phenomenon of cheating). Finally, the map model of causation of decision-making processes takes into account only causal factors related to the individual and/or social level of organization. Phenomena and processes taking place on lower levels of organization are disregarded. However, factors selected by Bendey et al. to explain tlie causation of human decision making processes exert their influence via modifications of neui'obiological processes taking place in die agent's brain. Our knowledge about the neurobiological basis of animal and human choice behavior is already quite advanced. We are convinced that the processes of decision making could be much more profoundly understood if such issues as the contextual modulation of behavioral choice (including, in paiticular, the relative contribution of conscious processes vs. processes induced by subliminal stimuli) (Block 2007; Palmer & Kristan 2011), die role of particulai- brain stiTictures and neurotransmitter/neuromodulatory systems (Forbes & Grafman 2013; Jung et al. 2013; Piéger & ViUringer 2013; Yu & Dayan 2005), and the role of synchronization of electrical activity rhytlims in various parts of die brain (Guitart-Masip et al. 2013) were taken into account. In our opinion, Bentley et al.'s approach would be more successnil if it were supplemented by infonnation showing how the impact of factors representing analytical dimensions of their map is translated into neurobiological processes underlying decision making. Further refinements providing additional infonnation on neurobiological correlates of human choice processes might make dieir map model still more useful and realistic.
Conflicting goals and their impact on games where payoffs are more or less ambiguous doi:10.1017/S0140525X13001751 Astrid Hopfensitz,^ Emiliano Lorini,'' and Frederic Moisan^''' ''Touiouse Sohooi of Economics, 31000 Touiouse, France: "institut de Recherche en informatique de Touiouse (iRiT), Touiouse University, 31062 Touiouse, France. [email protected]
http://idei.fr/member.php?i=1706 [email protected]
http://www.irit.fr/~Emiliano.Lorini [email protected]
Abstract: The two-dimensional map by Bentley et al. concerns decisionmaking and not games. The east-west dimension is interpreted as tfie level at which individuas identify widi some larger group. We think that this should be linked to die concept of social ties. We argue that social ties will lead to different outcomes in the "north" compared to die "south."
Bentley et al present a two-dimensional map allowing a categorization of decisions dependent on the amount (and precision) of BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (2014) 37:1
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