Neuronal origins of reduced accuracy and biases in economic choices under sequential offers

Weikang Shi, Sebastien Ballesta, Camillo Padoa-Schioppa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Economic choices are characterized by a variety of biases. Understanding their origins is a long-term goal for neuroeconomics, but progress on this front has been limited. Here, we examined choice biases observed when two goods are offered sequentially. In the experiments, rhesus monkeys chose between different juices offered simultaneously or in sequence. Choices under sequential offers were less accurate (higher variability). They were also biased in favor of the second offer (order bias) and in favor of the preferred juice (preference bias). Analysis of neuronal activity recorded in the orbitofrontal cortex revealed that these phenomena emerged at different computational stages. Lower choice accuracy reflected weaker offer value signals (valuation stage), the order bias emerged during value comparison (decision stage), and the preference bias emerged late in the trial (post-comparison). By neuronal measures, each phenomenon reduced the value obtained on average in each trial and was thus costly to the monkey.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Apr 13 2022


  • behavioral economics
  • decision making
  • monkey
  • neuroeconomics
  • neuroscience
  • orbitofrontal cortex
  • rationality
  • rhesus macaque


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