Fatigue biases the decoy effect in males but not females

Shuyi Wu, Rongjun Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Individuals often need to make critical decisions even when they are in a fatigued state. Mental fatigue may lead to increased susceptibility to distraction and poor information processing but it is unclear exactly how fatigue shapes individuals' decision-making. We studied how mental fatigue influences sensitivity to contextual information, indexed as decoy bias. Mental fatigue was induced using a multi-source interference task, and decoy bias was assessed using a gambling task, in 124 young adults. Results showed that mental fatigue increased decoy bias through enhanced perceptual salience of contextual cues, but only in males. The findings provide insight into a gender-specific relationship between fatigue and poor judgments. This study extends the current literature on links between fatigue and poor decision-making by documenting a possible mechanism of the association. The results may have practical implications for designing optimal working hours and safeguarding people from suboptimal decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-611
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Issue number5
Early online date16 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Contextual cues
  • Decision-making
  • Decoy bias
  • Gender
  • Mental fatigue


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