Choice perseveration in value-based decision making: The impact of inter-trial interval and mood

Ulrike Senftleben, Martin Schoemann, Diana Schwenke, Sarah Richter, Maja Dshemuchadse, Stefan Scherbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a series of decisions, people tend to show choice perseveration, that is, they repeat their choices. This choice perseveration is assumed to emerge due to residual activity from the previous decision. Here, we use a computational model with attractor dynamics to describe this process and to predict how choice perseveration can be modulated. We derive two qualitative predictions: Choice perseveration should decrease under longer (vs. shorter) inter-trial intervals and positive (vs. negative) mood. We test these predictions in a dynamic decision task where we modulate decisions across trials via sequentially manipulated reward options. Our findings replicate our previous study in showing choice perseveration in value-based decision making. Furthermore, choice perseveration decreased with increasing inter-trial interval as predicted by the model. However, we did not find clear evidence supporting mood effects on choice perseveration. We discuss how integrating decision process dynamics by the means of applying the neural attractor model can increase our understanding of the evolution of decision outcomes and therefore complement the psychophysical perspective on decision making.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102876
JournalActa Psychologica
Early online date4 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding: This research was partly supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG grant SFB 940/2 to Stefan Scherbaum).


  • Decision making
  • Choice perseveration
  • Process dynamics
  • Hysteresis
  • Attractor model


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