ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (12): 1517-1531.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.01517

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

When expectation-maximization-based theories work or do not work: An eye-tracking study of the discrepancy between everyone and every one

LIU Hong-Zhi3, LI Xingshan1,2, LI Shu1,2,4, RAO Li-Lin1,2()   

  1. 1CAS Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3Department of Social Psychology, Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University, Tianjin 300350, China
    4Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310028, China
  • Received:2022-01-22 Published:2022-12-20 Online:2022-09-23
  • Contact: RAO Li-Lin
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(71901126);National Social Science Foundation of China(19ZDA358);Humanity and Social Science Youth Foundation of Ministry of Education of China(19YJC190013);Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities(63222045)


Mainstream theorists in risky decision-making have developed various expectation theories with the ambitious goal of capturing everyone’s choices. However, ample evidence has revealed that these expectation theories could not capture every individual’s (“every one’s”) actual risky choice as descriptive theories. With doubts about the default compatibility between everyone (full set) and every one (subset), we used an eye-tracking technique to explore whether a theory for everyone would work well for every one. We found that expectation theories could capture the choice of an individual when making decisions for everyone and for self in a multiple-play condition, but could not capture the choice of an individual when making decisions for self in a single-play condition. Our findings contribute to a better understanding of the boundaries of expectation theories and those of heuristic/non-expectation models, and may shed light on the general issue of the classification of risky decision-making theories.

Key words: risky choice, decision for everyone, expectation-maximization, discrepancy between everyone and every one, eye-tracking