To bet or not to bet? Decision-making under risk in non-human primates

M. Pele, M. H. Broihanne, B. Thierry, J. Call, V. Dufour*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Animals deal with predictable and unpredictable events on a daily basis. Yet our knowledge of the cognitive processes involved in decisions remains limited. We tested capuchins, macaques and orang-utans in a food-gambling task to investigate whether or not individuals estimate the chances of different outcomes. Results highlighted that gambling decisions were negatively induced by the probability of losing and the frequency of previous losses, and positively induced by the probability of gaining. Actual decisions were consistent with first order stochastic dominance. The study of second order stochastic dominance revealed that macaques were risk-prone whereas capuchins and orang-utans were risk-adverse. We detected responses comparable to the hot-hand effect, a bias found in humans. Capuchins and orang-utans exhibited probability distortion and loss aversion, which were not systematically found in macaques. Given the heterogeneity among individuals, we implemented mixture models and showed that attitudes towards risk and probabilities play complementary and different roles in the three species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-166
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of risk and uncertainty
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

Keywords

  • Risk
  • Decision-making
  • First order and second order stochastic dominance
  • Expected utility theory
  • Cumulative prospect theory
  • Rank dependent expected utility theory
  • Mixture models
  • Non-human primates
  • PROBABILITY WEIGHTING FUNCTION
  • BROWN CAPUCHIN MONKEYS
  • PAN-TROGLODYTES
  • PROSPECT-THEORY
  • GAMBLERS FALLACY
  • TOKEN TRANSFERS
  • GORILLA-GORILLA
  • PONGO-PYGMAEUS
  • FOOD
  • PREFERENCES

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