Making The Implicit Explicit: Effects of Verbalization in Decisions from Experience

AbstractWhat do people learn from experience with repeated decisions? Is it merely implicit behavioral tendencies? If so, would articulating or summarizing what is learned change behavior? Online participants (N=126) experienced 100 trials of a decisions-from-experience problem with outcome feedback. Some participants then verbally summarized what they had learned and estimated the probability of the risky gain either for themselves (Self condition) or for another hypothetical player (Other condition); others did not summarize (Control condition). Finally, they faced 20 more decision trials. Verbalizing a social message to another person significantly increased sure choices (that is, decreased risk-taking) in subsequent decision making. In general, participants underestimated the probabilities of both certain and risky prospects, and articulating a summary message (Self or Other) seemed to increase this conservatism.


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