Decision making, movement planning and statistical decision theory

Julia Trommershäuser, Laurence T. Maloney, Michael S. Landy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We discuss behavioral studies directed at understanding how probability information is represented in motor and economic tasks. By formulating the behavioral tasks in the language of statistical decision theory, we can compare performance in equivalent tasks in different domains. Subjects in traditional economic decision-making tasks often misrepresent the probability of rare events and typically fail to maximize expected gain. By contrast, subjects in mathematically equivalent movement tasks often choose movement strategies that come close to maximizing expected gain. We discuss the implications of these different outcomes, noting the evident differences between the source of uncertainty and how information about uncertainty is acquired in motor and economic tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-297
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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