Numerate decision makers don’t use more effortful strategies unless it pays: A process tracing investigation of skilled and adaptive strategy selection in risky decision making

Jakub Traczyk , Agata Sobków , Kamil Fuławka , Jakub Kuś , Dafina Petrova , Rocio Garcia-Retamero


The present study investigated skilled and adaptive strategy selection in risky decision making. We proposed that people with high objective numeracy, a strong predictor of general decision making skill, would have a broad repertoire of choice strategies and adaptively select these strategies depending on the importance of the decision. Thus more objectively numerate people would maximize their effort (e.g., invest more time) in important, high-payoff decisions and switch to a simple, fast heuristic strategy in trivial decisions. Subjective numeracy would, by contrast, be more closely related to interest in problem solving for its own sake and would not yield such an effect of importance. Participants made twelve high-payoff choices and twelve low-payoff choices in binary two-outcome gambles framed as gains. We measured objective and subjective numeracy using standard measures. Results showed that people with high subjective numeracy generally maximized the expected value (EV) in all decisions. In contrast, participants with high objective numeracy maximized EV only when choice problems were meaningful (i.e., they could result in high payoffs). When choice problems were trivial (i.e., choosing the normatively better option would not result in a large payoff), more objectively numerate participants made choices consistent with faster, more frugal heuristic strategies.
Author Jakub Traczyk (Filia we Wrocławiu / II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Jakub Traczyk,,
- II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
, Agata Sobków (Filia we Wrocławiu / II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Agata Sobków,,
- II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
, Kamil Fuławka (Filia we Wrocławiu / II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Kamil Fuławka,,
- II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
, Jakub Kuś (Filia we Wrocławiu / II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Jakub Kuś,,
- II Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
, Dafina Petrova
Dafina Petrova,,
, Rocio Garcia-Retamero
Rocio Garcia-Retamero,,
Journal seriesJudgment and Decision Making, ISSN 1930-2975, (A 35 pkt)
Issue year2018
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in Englishnumeracy, strategy selection, risky choice, prospect theory, priority heuristic, skilled decision making, deliberation
ASJC Classification2002 Economics and Econometrics; 3202 Applied Psychology; 1800 General Decision Sciences
Languageen angielski
Numerate decision makers_tekst.pdf 168.8 KB
Additional file
Numerate decision_oświadczenie Sobków.pdf 20.43 KB
Numerate decision_oświadczenie Traczyk.pdf 19.73 KB
Numerate decision makers_oświadczenie Kuś.pdf 194.29 KB
Numerate decision_Fuławka.pdf 191.82 KB
Score (nominal)35
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2017 = 1.244; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 2.525 (2) - 2017=2.868 (5)
Citation count*19 (2021-01-10)
Share Share

Get link to the record

* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
Are you sure?