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Risky Choice

Many of the decisions we make are risky: We must choose between options that have varying probabilities of different outcomes, including potential gains and losses. We can learn about the risky options from “description” or by “experience”. In decisions from description, we are provided with explicit, verbal, or written descriptions of the potential outcomes and their associated probabilities. By contrast, in decisions from experience, we gain information about the potential outcomes and their probabilities through direct personal experience or experimentation.

In this stream of research, I have investigated the differences between description-based and experience-based decisions, attempted to explain the underlying causes of differences, and revealed the downstream consequences of those differences on consumer confidence.


  • Camilleri, A. R. & Newell, B. R. (2019). Better calibration when predicting from experience (rather than description). Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 150, 62-82. DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2018.10.006 [Preregistration] [PDF]
  • Camilleri, A. R. & Newell, B. R. (2013). The long and short of it: Closing the description-experience “gap” by taking the long run view. Cognition, 126, 54-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2012.09.001. [PDF] [Corrigendum]
  • Camilleri, A. R., & Newell, B. R. (2013) Mind the gap? Description, experience, and the continuum of uncertainty in risky choice. In N. Srinivasan and P. Chandrasekhar (Eds.) Progress in Brain Research: Decision Making: Neural and Behavioural Approaches (pp. 55-72). Oxford, UK: Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-444-62604-2.00004-6. [PDF]
  • Camilleri, A. R. & Newell, B. R. (2011). When and why rare events are underweighted: A direct comparison of the sampling, partial feedback, full feedback and description choice paradigms. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 377-384. DOI: 10.3758/s13423-010-0040-2. [PDF]
  • Camilleri, A. R. & Newell, B. R. (2011). Description- and experience-based choice: Do equivalent samples equal equivalent choice? Acta Psychologica, 136, 276-284. DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2010.11.007. [PDF]
  • Camilleri, A. R. & Newell, B. R. (2009). The role of representation in experience-based choice. Judgment & Decision Making, 4(7), 518–529. [PDF]