Forward inference in risky choice: Mapping gaze and decision processes


The study of cognitive processes is built on a close mapping between three components: overt gaze behavior, overt choice, and covert processes. To validate this overt–covert mapping in the domain of decision‐making, we collected eye‐movement data during decisions between risky gamble problems. Applying a forward inference paradigm, participants were instructed to use specific decision strategies to solve those gamble problems (maximizing expected values or applying different choice heuristics) during which gaze behavior was recorded. We revealed differences between overt behavior, as indicated by eye movements, and covert decision processes, instructed by the experimenter. However, our results show that the overt–covert mapping is for some eye‐movement measures not as close as expected by current decision theory, and hence question reverse inference as being prone to fallacies due to a violation of its prerequisite, that is, a close overt–covert mapping. We propose a framework to rehabilitate reverse inference.

Journal of Behavioral Decision Making