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The present paper offers the counterpart to the triage nurse: We provide a novel, rigorous, yet very general, quantitative diagnostic framework for testing theories of binary choice. This permits the nontechnical scholar to proceed far beyond very superficial methods of analysis, and it permits the quantitatively savvy scholar to triage theoretical proposals before investing effort into complicated, restrictive, and specialized quantitative analyses.

A basic underlying assumption, throughout the paper, is that a decision maker, who faces a pairwise choice among two choice options, behaves probabilistically (like the realization of a single Bernoulli trial), including the possibility of degenerate probabilities where the person picks one option with certainty.

In the interest of brevity and accessibility, we cast the example in terms of the most famous contemporary theory of risky choice, Cumulative Prospect Theory ( Tversky and Kahneman 1992 ). However, since our empirical illustration only considers gambles in which one can win but not lose money, one can think of the predictions as derived from certain, more general, forms of rank-dependent utility theories.