Common decision-making models arise from firm axiomatic foundations but do not account for a variety of empirically observed choice patterns such as risk attitudes in the face of high-impact events. Here, we argue that one reason for this mismatch between theory and data lies in the neglect of basic biological principles such as metabolic homeostasis. We use Bayesian model comparison to show that models based on homeostatic considerations explain human decisions better than classic economic models—both in a novel virtual foraging task and in standard economic gambles. Specifically, we show that in line with the principle of homeostasis human choice minimizes the probability of reaching a lower bound. Our results highlight that predictions from biological principles provide simple, testable, and ecologically rational explanations for apparent biases in decision-making.
Korn CW, Bach DR (2015) Maintaining Homeostasis by Decision-Making. PLoS Comput Biol 11(5): e1004301. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004301