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Article

Depletion of executive control during risky decision making reveals a correspondence between the reflection effect and trial-by-trial strategy formation

Zhurnal Vysshei Nervnoi Deyatelnosti Imeni I.P. Pavlova. 2019. Vol. 69. No. 4. P. 456-464.

According to dual process theories, depletion of executive resources may amplify decision-making
biases. Psychological studies investigating the influence of executive control on risky decision mak-
ing typically employ dual task paradigms, e.g. a risky decision-making task in parallel with an exec-
utive task. However, these paradigms often reveal relatively weak to null effects. In this study, we
designed a novel task to determine the influence of executive control on risky decision making di-
rectly, and simultaneously separating gains and losses using a block design. Contrary to other tasks,
risk taking, and executive control occurred during the same decision. When risky decisions were
conditioned on high executive control, participants demonstrated a reflection effect: higher risk
taking for loss blocks, compared to gain blocks. Further exploration revealed that the gain-domain
specific influence of executive control on risky decisions occurred due to the influence of trial-by-
trial decision-making strategies.