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People sometimes choose options yielding relatively better outcomes in past contexts, even when those options have lower absolute values. This study tested whether this effect is due to participants learning relative outcomes or simply repeating previous choices. Participants (n = 151) were randomly assigned to two conditions and completed a two-phase choice task. In the learning phase, participants either actively chose from (choice condition) or passively viewed (sampling condition) pairs of symbols and received reward feedback. In the subsequent transfer phase, participants were shown different combinations of the same symbols and were asked to choose the symbol with the higher value on each trial. Choice patterns in both conditions exhibited a bias towards lower-valued options yielding relatively greater outcomes in the learning phase. However, the effect was slightly stronger in the choice condition. Our findings suggest choice repetition plays a minor role, but cannot fully account for relative value choice biases.



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Exploring Relative Value Bias: Learned Outcomes or Choice Repetition?