Prospect Theoretic Utility Based Human Decision Making in Multi-Agent Systems

Baocheng Geng, Swastik Brahma, Thakshila Wimalajeewa, Pramod K. Varshney, Muralidhar Rangaswamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This paper studies human decision making via a utility based approach in a binary hypothesis testing framework that includes the consideration of individual behavioral disparity. Unlike rational decision makers who make decisions so as to maximize their expected utility, humans tend to maximize their subjective utilities, which are usually distorted due to cognitive biases. We use the value function and the probability weighting function from prospect theory to model human cognitive biases and obtain their subjective utility function in decision making. First, we show that the decision rule which maximizes the subjective utility function reduces to a likelihood ratio test (LRT). Second, to capture the unreliable nature of human decision making behavior, we model the decision threshold of a human as a Gaussian random variable, whose mean is determined by his/her cognitive bias, and the variance represents the uncertainty of the agent while making a decision. This human decision making framework under behavioral biases incorporates both cognitive biases and uncertainties. We consider several decision fusion scenarios that include humans. Extensive numerical results are provided throughout the paper to illustrate the impact of human behavioral biases on the performance of the decision making systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8976222
Pages (from-to)1091-1104
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Utility based hypothesis testing
  • behavioral bias
  • decision fusion
  • human decision making
  • information fusion
  • prospect theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Prospect Theoretic Utility Based Human Decision Making in Multi-Agent Systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this