The quick-intuition vs. slow-deliberation dilemma from a decision-making perspective

Y-Lan Boureau, Peter Sokol-Hessner, Nathaniel D. Daw, Deciding How To Decide: Self-Control and Meta-Decision Making, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 19, Issue 11, November 2015, Pages 700-710, ISSN 1364-6613, DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2015.08.013.

Many different situations related to self control involve competition between two routes to decisions: default and frugal versus more resource-intensive. Examples include habits versus deliberative decisions, fatigue versus cognitive effort, and Pavlovian versus instrumental decision making. We propose that these situations are linked by a strikingly similar core dilemma, pitting the opportunity costs of monopolizing shared resources such as executive functions for some time, against the possibility of obtaining a better outcome. We offer a unifying normative perspective on this underlying rational meta-optimization, review how this may tie together recent advances in many separate areas, and connect several independent models. Finally, we suggest that the crucial mechanisms and meta-decision variables may be shared across domains.

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