Sota Ichiba

The winner of this year's Thaler-Tversky Independent Research Grant for Emerging Scholars is Sota Ichiba, a fifth year PhD student in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, whose proposed project will explore the relationship between attention and economic salience.

The Thaler-Tversky Research Grant is supported by the generosity of CDR Governing Board Member Richard Thaler in honor of Amos Tversky, and provides grants up to $3,000 to support new behavioral science research led by University of Chicago PhD students and principal researchers.

Congratulations to Sota! Learn more about his proposed research below.

About Sota Ichiba

5th Year Economics PhD Student
Advisor: Alex Imas

About the Project

"Despite a wealth of research done in economics about 'salience' affecting economic decisions (Bordalo et al. 2013, Taubinsky and Rees-Jones 2018), little is known about the determinants of economic salience and its relationship with attention in cognitive sciences. In this project, I bridge the concept of visual salience and a choice-based measure of attention used in economics (Gabaix 2019) by studying how those two distinct ideas are related, and whether visual salience can causally impact the choice-based attention. To this end, I design an experiment that directly provides the causal evidence that visual salience affects the choice based attention. To obtain a measure of visual salience, I use Salience Attentive Model (SAM, Cornia et al. 2018), which takes any 2D color image as an input and predicts stimulus-driven attention. To date, very few papers in economics have looked at the intersection between decision making and visual salience, except for Li and Camerer (2022, Experiment 1) which demonstrates that the 'bottom-up' salience can influence value calculation. Unlike their experiment, the current project features multiattribute decision making. Therefore, the experimental paradigm can be applied to understand how visual salience can be leveraged to influence decision biases, which has implications in designing choice architectures. Another strand of literature in neuroeconomics studies how visual attention influence decision value (Krajbich et al. 2010, Stewart et al. 2016, Smith and Krajbich 2018). This project differentiates from the literature by investigating how the effect manifests itself in revealed preference measures. Finally, the project gives a systematic and generalizable investigation into the salience literature in economics unlike the previous attempts in the field."