Choice history biases subsequent evidence accumulation

Anne E Urai, Jan Willem de Gee, Konstantinos Tsetsos, Tobias H Donner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


Perceptual choices depend not only on the current sensory input but also on the behavioral context, such as the history of one's own choices. Yet, it remains unknown how such history signals shape the dynamics of later decision formation. In models of decision formation, it is commonly assumed that choice history shifts the starting point of accumulation toward the bound reflecting the previous choice. We here present results that challenge this idea. We fit bounded-accumulation decision models to human perceptual choice data, and estimated bias parameters that depended on observers' previous choices. Across multiple task protocols and sensory modalities, individual history biases in overt behavior were consistently explained by a history-dependent change in the evidence accumulation, rather than in its starting point. Choice history signals thus seem to bias the interpretation of current sensory input, akin to shifting endogenous attention toward (or away from) the previously selected interpretation.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019, Urai et al.


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior
  • Bias
  • Choice Behavior
  • Computer Simulation
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Young Adult


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