Abstract

The preference reversal phenomenon occurs when revealed preference orderings for the same alternatives differ between 2 response modes. This phenomenon can be explained by dual process theories. System 1 is swift, automatic, and susceptible to biases, but System 2 is slow and deliberative and can correct biases produced by System 1. A more impulsive person, using fewer cognitive resources for System 2 to correct biases produced by System 1, should be more susceptible to decision biases (e.g., the preference reversal phenomenon). Research has revealed that rs806379, a single-nucleotide polymorphism of the cannabinoid receptor 1 gene, is linked to impulsivity: People with the A/A genotype are more impulsive than others. Therefore, we speculated that rs806379 polymorphism may affect the preference reversal phenomenon. In this study, healthy subjects chose between bets with high monetary amounts but low probabilities ($-bets) and bets with high probabilities but low monetary amounts (P-bets) and then evaluated them separately; they also provided saliva samples for genotyping. As expected, subjects exhibited a strong preference reversal phenomenon. Furthermore, subjects with the A/A genotype exhibited a stronger preference reversal phenomenon than others when the ratios of monetary amounts in $-bets to those in the P-bets were large. This is the first study to investigate the preference reversal phenomenon in terms of genetics. Our findings suggest that decision-making behaviors such as the preference reversal phenomenon can be influenced by a single gene locus variation in healthy human beings. Supplemental materials are available here: https://www.press.uillinois.edu/journals/ajp/media/genetic_determinant_of_the_preference_reversal_phenomenon/

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