The influence of affect on suboptimal strategy choice in the Monty Hall dilemma


The Monty Hall dilemma (MHD) presents an intriguing choice anomaly that offers insight into human reasoning. It presents a specific subclass of decision tasks that require the adequate use of Bayes theorem in order to make optimal decisions. In the MHD, participants are presented with three doors with only one door hiding the prize. After their initial choice of a door, they are offered additional information. A different door (one that does not hide the prize and one not chosen by the participant) is opened to reveal nothing behind it. Afterwards, the participants are offered to stay with their initial choice or to switch to the other remaining door. The better strategy is to always switch; a counterintuitive one for most people. We examine the notorious difficulty of the MHD from an affective perspective while relying on the dual processing approach to thinking. We varied participants? reliance on their affective reactions as opposed to a neutral condition and hypothesized that the affective reactions associated with the staying option contribute to worse performance on the task. Indeed, the participants in the affective condition chose the staying option more often than our control participants. Using the MHD as an appropriate paradigm of conditional probability reasoning we show that, for this type of task, an affective strategy is highly inefficient. We attribute these results to the affective reactions associated with the staying option, with regret avoidance associated with the switch option, and the conditional probability construction of the dilemma. , nema


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