In an elegant study, Marsh and Kacelnik (2002) investigated these context effects directly using a framing manipulation. They presented starlings with a choice between a risky and fixed reward with the same average expected payoff of four reward pellets. Before this choice, however, starlings performed a training task that gave them a reward history involving one of two possible payoff amounts: either a small payoff of one pellet or a large payoff of seven pellets. This initial payoff history allowed the starlings to frame the choice condition's payoff of four pellets as either more or less than what they usually experienced. The authors found that starlings became more risk-seeking when facing a loss context than a gain context. Specifically, starlings preferred the risky option in the loss context but showed no significant risk preference in the gains condition. The starling study provides some evidence that non- human animals may also change their risk preferences based on framing; starlings switch from risk-neutral to risk-seeking depending on their history with the decision problem. The goal of the present study was to explore whether a more robust reflection effect is present in animals closely-related to humans, one in which we might reliably observe a true shift from risk aversion to risk-seeking based only on a problem's framing. We focused specifically on one primate species—the capuchin monkey (Cebus apella) — because this species is adept at reasoning about payoffs and gambles in a token trading context.
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- Spring '17
- Bu Rini
- risk preferences, possible payoff amounts