Consider a Bayesian binary decision-making problem in star networks, where local agents make selfish decisions independently, and a fusion agent makes a final decision based on aggregated decisions and its own private signal. In particular, we assume all agents have private beliefs for the true prior probability, based on which they perform Bayesian decision making. We focus on the Bayes risk of the fusion agent and counterintuitively find that incorrect beliefs could achieve a smaller risk than that when agents know the true prior. It is of independent interest for sociotechnical system design that the optimal beliefs of local agents resemble human probability reweighting models from cumulative prospect theory. We also consider asymptotic characterization of the optimal beliefs and fusion agent's risk in the number of local agents. We find that the optimal risk of the fusion agent converges to zero exponentially fast as the number of local agents grows. Furthermore, having an identical constant belief is asymptotically optimal in the sense of the risk exponent. For additive Gaussian noise, the optimal belief turns out to be a simple function of only error costs and the risk exponent can be explicitly characterized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6221-6236
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
StatePublished - 2021


  • Bayes methods
  • cumulative prospect theory
  • Decision making
  • distributed detection
  • Error probability
  • Labeling
  • social decision making
  • Sociotechnical systems
  • Standards
  • Stochastic processes
  • Social decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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