Fishing for the Right Words: Decision Rules for Human Foraging Behavior in Internal Search Tasks

  title={Fishing for the Right Words: Decision Rules for Human Foraging Behavior in Internal Search Tasks},
  author={Andreas Wilke and John M. C. Hutchinson and Peter M. Todd and Uwe Czienskowski},
  journal={Cognitive science},
  volume={33 3},
Animals depleting one patch of resources must decide when to leave and switch to a fresh patch. Foraging theory has predicted various decision mechanisms; which is best depends on environmental variation in patch quality. Previously we tested whether these mechanisms underlie human decision making when foraging for external resources; here we test whether humans behave similarly in a cognitive task seeking internally generated solutions. Subjects searched for meaningful words made from random… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

When is it time to move to the next raspberry bush? Foraging rules in human visual search.
This paper examines human foraging in a visual search context with a real-world analog would be berry picking and shows that MVT gives a good description of human behavior for roughly uniform collections of patches.
Information Foraging Across the Life Span: Search and Switch in Unknown Patches
Investigation of age differences in the rate of information gain and the cues used to make patch-departure decisions in information foraging found evidence that adults were rational in terms of being sensitive to the change in RG, but the estimation of RG may not be accurate.
Information Search with Depleting and Non-Depleting Resources
This work investigated the effect of patch distribution and ability to return to previously searched patches on participants’ decision to switch from one patch to another while searching, indicating that these factors may alter the size of the increment applied through the Incremental Rule.
Signatures of visuospatial information foraging during learning of complex environments
It is suggested that humans are more tuned to the search for information than reward than monkeys and that foraging competence predicts the capacity to learn complex environments.
Foraging behavior in visual search: A review of theoretical and mathematical models in humans and animals.
A systematic search in the literature to understand those mathematical models and study its applicability in human visual foraging and suggests that these models might be the first step, but they seem to be limited to fully comprehend foraging in visual search.
Human Foragers: Searchers by Nature and Experience
The results highlight the role of culturally transmitted information as well as the presence of mechanisms to rapidly integrate and implement new information into searching choices, which ultimately influence performance in a foraging task.
How humans react to changing rewards during visual foraging
The experimental results demonstrate that observers will forage for longer when the value of successive targets increases (and the opposite when value decreases) and that human behavior could be modeled with a variant of Charnov’s Marginal Value Theorem (MVT) (Charnov, 1976) that includes roles for reward and learning.
Foraging, Exploration, or Search? On the (Lack of) Convergent Validity Between Three Behavioral Paradigms
Recently it has been suggested that individual humans and other animals possess different levels of a general tendency to explore or exploit that may influence behavior in different contexts. In the


Patch leaving in humans: can a generalist adapt its rules to dispersal of items across patches?
Hunting by expectation or optimal foraging: A study of patch use by chickadees
Discretionary task interleaving: heuristics for time allocation in cognitive foraging.
The authors propose that switch decisions reflected a dual orientation to the experimental tasks, which produced a sensitivity to continuous rate of return and an information-foraging orientation that produced a tendency to switch in keeping with R. F. Green's (1984) rule.
Patch departure decisions by spice finches foraging singly or in groups
Testing patch departure decisions of spice finches, Lonchura punctulata, and groups of three under two habitats that require different travel times found an increased variability in seed number collected by group members compared with single foragers, which could be a cost of group foraging.
Search in External and Internal Spaces
This work examined how searching in physical space influences subsequent search in abstract cognitive space by presenting participants with a spatial-foraging task followed by a repeated Scrabble task involving search for words that could be made from letter sets.
Optimal foraging and learning
Knowledge of resources and competitors in human foraging
The results suggest that participants’ foraging decisions are influenced by both forager and resource information, and that the presence of a crowd at a resource is a deterring, rather than an attractive, factor.
Prey Distribution as a Factor Determining the Choice of Optimal Foraging Strategy
Whether the predator under observation actually behaves optimally in accordance with the distribution of prey should be revealed by plotting the number of captures against the length of period for which the predator stayed in each patch.