Capuchins (Cebus apella) fail to show an asymmetric dominance effect

Abstract

The asymmetric dominance effect (ADE) occurs when the introduction of a partially dominated decoy option increases the choice share of its dominating alternative. The ADE is a violation of regularity and the constant-ratio rule, which are two derivations of the independence of irrelevant alternatives axiom, a core tenant of rational choice. The ADE is one of the most widely reported human choice phenomena, leading researchers to probe its origins by studying a variety of non-human species. We examined the ADE in brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella), a species that displays many other decision biases. In Experiment 1, we used a touchscreen method to elicit choice-based preferences for food rewards in asymmetrically dominated choice sets. In Experiments 2 and 3, we distinguished between different types of judgments and used a free selection task to elicit consumption-based preferences for juice rewards. However, we found no evidence for the ADE through violations of regularity or the constant-ratio rule, despite the similarity of our stimuli to other human and non-human experiments. While these results appear to conflict with existing literature on the ADE in non-human species, we point out methodological differences—notably, the distinction between value-based and perception-based stimuli—that have led to a collection of phenomena that are difficult to understand under a unitary theoretical framework. In particular, we highlight key differences between the human and non-human research and provide a series of steps that researchers could take to better understand the ADE.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Notes

  1. 1.

    Due to experimenter error, participant MP did not complete training session 4 but participated in the main experiment. Her performance did not differ from other participants.

References

  1. Ariely D, Wallsten TS (1995) Seeking subjective dominance in multidimensional space: an explanation of the asymmetric dominance effect. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 63:223–232

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bateson M, Kacelnik A (1998) Risk-sensitive foraging: decision making in variable environments. In: Dukas R (ed) Cognitive ecology. Chicago University Press, Chicago, pp 297–341

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bateson M, Healy SD, Hurly TA (2002) Irrational choices in hummingbird foraging behaviour. Anim Behav 63:587–596

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bateson M, Healy SD, Hurly TA (2003) Context-dependent foraging decisions in rufous hummingbirds. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 270:1271–1276

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Baumeister RF, Bratslavsky E, Muraven M, Tice DM (1998) Ego depletion: is the active self a limited resource? J Personal Soc Psychol 74:1252–1265

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Brosnan SF, de Waal FBM (2003) Monkeys reject unequal pay. Nature 425:297–299

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Chen MK, Lakshminarayanan V, Santos LR (2006) How basic are behavioral biases? Evidence from capuchin monkey trading behavior. J Polit Econ 114:517–537

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Cuthill IC, Maddocks SA, Weall CV, Jones EK (2000) Body mass regulation in response to changes in feeding predictability and overnight energy expenditure. Behav Ecol 11:189–195

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Dhar R, Glazer R (1996) Similarity in context: cognitive representation and violation of preference and perceptual invariance in consumer choice. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 67:280–293

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Doyle JR, O’Connor DJ, Reynolds GM, Bottomley PA (1999) The robustness of the asymmetrically dominated effect: buying frames, phantom alternatives, and in-store purchases. Psychol Market 16:225–243

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Edwards SC, Pratt SC (2009) Rationality in collective decision-making by ant colonies. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 276:3655–3661

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Egan LC, Santos LR, Bloom P (2007) The origins of cognitive dissonance evidence from children and monkeys. Psychol Sci 8:978–983

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Egan LC, Bloom P, Santos LR (2010) Choice-induced preferences in the absence of choice: evidence from a blind two choice paradigm with young children and capuchin monkeys. J Exp Soc Psychol 46:204–207

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Estle SJ, Green L, Myerson J, Holt DD (2007) Discounting of monetary and directly consumable rewards. Psychol Sci 18:58–63

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Fragaszy DM, Visalberghi E, Fedigan LM (2004) The complete capuchin. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  16. Frederick S, Lee L, Baskin E (2014) The limits of attraction. J Market Res 51:487–507

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Heyman J, Ariely D (2004) Effort for payment. Psychol Sci 15:787–793

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Huber J, Payne JW, Puto C (1982) Adding asymmetrically dominated alternatives: violations of regularity and the similarity hypothesis. J Consum Res 9:90–98

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Hurly TA, Oseen MD (1999) Context-dependent, risk-sensitive foraging preferences in wild rufous humming birds. Anim Behav 58:59–66

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Jacobs GH (1999) Prospects for trichromatic color vision in male Cebus monkeys. Behav Brain Res 101:109–112

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Lakshminarayanan VR, Chen MK, Santos LR (2008) Endowment effect in capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). Philos Trans R Soc B 363:3837–3844

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Lakshminarayanan VR, Chen MK, Santos LR (2011) The evolution of decision-making under risk: framing effects in monkey risk preferences. J Exp Soc Psychol 47:689–693

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Latty T, Beekman M (2010) Irrational decision-making in an amoeboid organism: transitivity and context-dependent preferences. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 278:307–312

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Lea SE, Webley P (2006) Money as tool, money as drug: the biological psychology of a strong incentive. Behav Brain Sci 29:161–175

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Loftus GR (1996) Psychology will be a much better science when we change the way we analyze data. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 5:161–171

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Luce RD (1959) Individual choice behavior: a theoretical analysis. Wiley, New York

    Google Scholar 

  27. Morgan KV, Hurly TA, Bateson M, Asher L, Healy SD (2012) Context-dependent decisions among options varying in a single dimension. Behav Process 89:115–120

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Parrish AE, Evans TA, Beran MJ (2015) Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) exhibit the decoy effect in a perceptual discrimination task. Atten Percept Psychophys 77:1715–1725

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  29. Pettibone JC, Wedell DH (2000) Examining models of nondominated decoy effects across judgment and choice. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 81:300–328

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Pocheptsova A, Amir O, Dhar R, Baumeister RF (2009) Deciding without resources: resource depletion and choice in context. J Market Res 46:344–355

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Ratneshwar S, Shocker AD, Stewart DW (1987) Toward understanding the attraction effect: the implications of product stimulus meaningfulness and familiarity. J Consum Res 13:520–533

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Raubenheimer D, Simpson SJ (1997) Integrative models of nutrient balancing: application to insects and vertebrates. Nutr Res Rev 10:151–179

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Rosati AG, Stevens JR, Hare B, Hauser MD (2007) The evolutionary origins of human patience: temporal preferences in chimpanzees, bonobos, and human adults. Curr Biol 17:1663–1668

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Rozin P, Millman L, Nemeroff C (1986) Operation of the laws of sympathetic magic in disgust and other domains. J Personal Soc Psychol 50:703–712

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Rozin P, Haidt J, McCauley CR (2000) Disgust. In: Lewis M, Haviland-Jones JM (eds) Handbook of emotions, 2nd edn. Guilford Press, New York, pp 637–653

    Google Scholar 

  36. Santos LR, Chen KM (2009) The evolution of rational and irrational economic behavior: evidence and insight from a non-human primate species. In: Glimcher PW, Fehr E, Camerer C, Poldrack RA (eds) Neuroeconomics: decision making and the brain. Academic Press, Waltham, pp 81–93

    Google Scholar 

  37. Santos LR, Rosati AG (2015) The evolutionary roots of human decision-making. Annu Rev Psychol 66:321–347

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  38. Santos LR, Hauser MD, Spelke ES (2001) Recognition and categorization of biologically significant objects by rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta): the domain of food. Cognition 82:27–155

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Santos LR, Sulkowski GM, Spaepen GM, Hauser MD (2002) Object individuation using property/kind information in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Cognition 83:241–264

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. Scarpi D (2011) The impact of phantom decoys on choices in cats. Anim Cogn 14:127–136

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  41. Schuck-Paim C, Pompilio L, Kacelnik A (2004) State-dependent decisions cause apparent violations of rationality in animal choice. PLoS Biol 2:2305–2315

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Shafir S (1994) Intransitivity of preferences in honey bees: support for comparative evaluation of foraging options. Anim Behav 48:55–67

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Shafir EB, Osherson DN, Smith EE (1989) An advantage model of choice. J Behav Decis Making 2:1–23

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Shafir S, Waite TA, Smith BH (2002) Context-dependent violations of rational choice in honeybees (Apis mellifera) and gray jays (Perisoreus canadensis). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 51:180–187

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Shutts K, Condry KF, Santos LR, Spelke ES (2009) Core knowledge and its limits: the domain of food. Cognition 112:120–140

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  46. Simonson I (1989) Choice based on reasons: the case of attraction and compromise effects. J Consum Res 16:158–174

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Simonson I, Tversky A (1992) Choice in context: tradeoff contrast and extremeness aversion. J Market Res 29:281–295

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Trueblood JS, Brown SD, Heathcote A, Busemeyer JR (2013) Not just for consumers: context effects are fundamental to decision making. Psychol Sci 15(24):901–908

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Tversky A (1969) Intransitivity of preferences. Psychol Rev 76:31–48

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Tversky A, Simonson I (1993) Context-dependent preferences. Manage Sci 39:1179–1189

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Vohs KD, Mead NL, Goode MR (2006) The psychological consequences of money. Science 314:1154–1156

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  52. Waite TA (2001) Intransitive preferences in hoarding gray jays (Perisoreus canadensis). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 50:116–121

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Wedell DH (1991) Distinguishing among models of contextually induced preference reversals. J Exp Psychol Learn 17:767–778

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Wedell DH, Pettibone JC (1996) Using judgments to understand decoy effects in choice. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 67:326–344

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Yang S, Lynn M (2014) More evidence challenging the robustness and usefulness of the attraction affect. J Market Res 51:508–513

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Jane Wildness, Melissa Baranay, Cam Cullman, Linda Chang, Nick Buttrick, Molly Lucas, Lars Knudsen, Sarah Sentmore, Matthew Roth, Angie Johnston, and Ellen Furlong for their help in running these studies. We also thank Shane Frederick for his help in working through the results of this study. This research was supported by Yale University and a McDonnell Scholar Award to L.R.S.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Laurie R. Santos.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This research was conducted in compliance with federal laws of the USA and with the regulations of Yale University. The protocol for non-human primates was approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at Yale University (Protocol Number: #2008-10678).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Cohen, P.M., Santos, L.R. Capuchins (Cebus apella) fail to show an asymmetric dominance effect. Anim Cogn 20, 331–345 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-016-1055-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Asymmetric dominance effect
  • Decoy effect
  • Capuchin monkeys
  • Choice biases