Retrospective Evaluation of Sequential Events and the Influence of Preference-Dependent Working Memory: A Computational Examination

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Humans organize sequences of events into a single overall experience, and evaluate the aggregated experience as a whole, such as a generally pleasant dinner, movie, or trip. However, such evaluations are potentially computationally taxing, and so our brains must employ heuristics (i.e., approximations). For example, the peak-end rule hypothesis suggests that we average the peaks and end of a sequential event vs. integrating every moment. However, there is no general model to test viable hypotheses quantitatively. Here, we propose a general model and test among multiple specific ones, while also examining the role of working memory. The models were tested with a novel picture-rating task. We first compared averaging across entire sequences vs. the peak-end heuristic. Correlation tests indicated that averaging prevailed, with peak and end both still having significant prediction power. Given this, we developed generalized order-dependent and relative-preference-dependent models to subsume averaging, peak and end. The combined model improved the prediction power. However, based on limitations of relative-preference-including imposing a potentially arbitrary ranking among preferences-we introduced an absolute-preference-dependent model, which successfully explained the remembered utilities. Yet, because using all experiences in a sequence requires too much memory as real-world settings scale, we then tested "windowed" models, i.e., evaluation within a specified window. The windowed (absolute) preference-dependent (WP) model explained the empirical data with long sequences better than without windowing. However, because fixed-windowed models harbor their own limitations-including an inability to capture peak-event influences beyond a fixed window-we then developed discounting models. With (absolute) preference-dependence added to the discounting rate, the results showed that the discounting model reflected the actual working memory of the participants, and that the preference-dependent discounting (PD) model described different features from the WP model. Taken together, we propose a combined WP-PD model as a means by which people evaluate experiences, suggesting preference-dependent working-memory as a significant factor underlying our evaluations.
Publisher
FRONTIERS MEDIA SA
Issue Date
2020-09
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Citation

FRONTIERS IN COMPUTATIONAL NEUROSCIENCE, v.14, pp.65

ISSN
1662-5188
DOI
10.3389/fncom.2020.00065
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/277034
Appears in Collection
BiS-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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