Whether it pertains to the foods to buy when one is on a diet, the items to take along to the beach on one’s day off or (perish the thought) the belongings to save from one’s burning house, choice is ubiquitous. We aim to determine from choices the criteria individuals use when they select objects from among a set of candidates. In order to do so we employ a mixture IRT (item-response theory) model that capitalizes on the insights that objects are chosen more often the better they meet the choice criteria and that the use of different criteria is reflected in inter-individual selection differences. The model is found to account for the inter-individual selection differences for 10 ad hoc and goal-derived categories. Its parameters can be related to selection criteria that are frequently thought of in the context of these categories. These results suggest that mixture IRT models allow one to infer from mere choice behavior the criteria individuals used to select/discard objects. Potential applications of mixture IRT models in other judgment and decision making contexts are discussed.

multi-attribute decision making, individual differences, categorization, goals, ideals.
Judgment and Decision Making
Department of Psychology

Verheyen, S, Voorspoels, W, & Storms, G. (2015). Inferring choice criteria with mixture IRT models: A demonstration using ad hoc and goal-derived categories. Judgment and Decision Making, 10(1), 97–114. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/125400