Foraging, exploration, or search? On the (lack of) convergent validity between three behavioral paradigms

von Helversen, Bettina and Mata, Rui and Samanez-Larkin, Gregory R. and Wilke, Andreas. (2018) Foraging, exploration, or search? On the (lack of) convergent validity between three behavioral paradigms. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 12 (3). pp. 152-162.

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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 present work, we investigated whether individual differences in this general tendency to explore (exploit) can be captured across three behavioral paradigms that involve exploration-exploitation trade-offs: A foraging task involving sequential search for fish in several ponds, a multiarmed bandit task involving repeatedly choosing from a set of options, and a sequential choice task involving choosing a candidate from a pool of applicants. Two hundred and sixty-one participants completed two versions of each of the three tasks. Structural equation modeling revealed that there was no single, general factor underlying exploration behavior in all tasks, even though individual differences in exploration were stable across the two versions of the same task. The results suggest that task-specific factors influence individual levels of exploration. This finding causes difficulties in the enterprise of measuring general exploration tendencies using single behavioral paradigms and suggests that more work is needed to understand how general exploration tendencies and task-specific characteristics translate into exploratory behavior in different contexts.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Forschungsbereich Sozial-, Wirtschafts- und Entscheidungspsychologie > Cognitive and Decision Sciences (Mata)
UniBasel Contributors:Mata, Rui
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:American Psychological Association
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:20 Dec 2018 14:32
Deposited On:20 Dec 2018 14:32

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