Foraging theory offers an alternative foundation for understanding economic choice, one that sees economic choices as the outcome of psychological processes that evolved to help our ancestors search for food. Most of the choices encountered by foragers are between pursuing an encountered prey (accept) and ignoring it in favor of continued search (reject). Binary choices, which typically occur between simultaneously presented items, are special case, and are resolved through paired alternating accept–reject decisions limited by the narrow focus of attention. The foraging approach also holds out promise for helping to understand self-control and invites a reconceptualization of the mechanisms of binary choice, the relationship between choosing and stopping, and of the meaning of reward value.
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