Although praised for their rationality, humans often make poor decisions, even in simple situations. In the repeated binary choice experiment, an individual has to choose repeatedly between the same two alternatives, where a reward is assigned to one of them with fixed probability. The optimal strategy is to perseverate with choosing the alternative with the best expected return. Whereas many species perseverate, humans tend to match the frequencies of their choices to the frequencies of the alternatives, a sub-optimal strategy known as probability matching. Our goal was to find the primary cognitive constraints under which a set of simple evolutionary rules can lead to such contrasting behaviors.
Feher da Silva C, Baldo MVC (2012) A Simple Artificial Life Model Explains Irrational Behavior in Human Decision-Making. PLoS ONE 7(5): e34371. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0034371