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The influence of reward value on memory and decision making Open Access


Other title
reward value
decision making
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Madan, Christopher R.
Supervisor and department
Spetch, Marcia (Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Murray, Kyle (Marketing)
Spetch, Marcia (Psychology)
Stewart, Sherry (Psychology, Dalhousie University)
Sturdy, Christopher (Psychology)
Singhal, Anthony (Psychology)
Department of Psychology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
In our everyday lives we often make decisions based on our prior experiences, whether it be choosing to park without putting money in the meter or deciding what to buy as a gift for a loved one. Inevitably, our decisions in the present are informed by our memories of experiences past. In this dissertation I report the results from a series of studies examining how reward value influences memory, and how these reward-memory effects can in turn bias decision making such that people are generally more risk seeking for relative gains than relative losses. Specifically, these studies examined how previously learned reward values can subsequently influence memory for items, how more extreme reward outcomes influence decisions from experience, and how memory biases can drive risk preference in decision making. Together these convergent lines of research represent a theoretical advance in our understanding of memory and decision making.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Madan, C. R., Fujiwara, E., Gerson, B. C., & Caplan, J. B. (2012). High reward makes items easier to remember, but harder to bind to a new temporal context. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 6, 61. doi:10.3389/fnint.2012.00061Madan, C. R., & Spetch, M. L. (2012). Is the enhancement of memory due to reward driven by value or salience? Acta Psychologica, 139, 343-349. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2011.12.010Ludvig, E. A., Madan, C. R., & Spetch, M. L. (2014). Extreme outcomes sway risky decisions from experience. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 27, 146-156. doi:10.1002/bdm.1792Madan, C. R., Ludvig, E. A., & Spetch, M. L. (2014). Remembering the best and worst of times: Memories for extreme outcomes bias risky decisions. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21, 629-636. doi:10.3758/s13423-013-0542-9

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