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Control Over Patch Encounters Changes Foraging Behaviour

33 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2021 Publication Status: Published

See all articles by Sam Hall-McMaster

Sam Hall-McMaster

Max Planck Institute for Human Development

Peter Dayan

Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics

Nicolas W. Schuck

Max Planck Institute for Human Development

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Abstract

Foraging is a common decision problem in natural environments. When new exploitable sites are always available, a simple optimal strategy is to leave a current site when its return falls below a single average reward rate. Here, we examined foraging in a more structured environment, with a limited number of sites that replenished at different rates and had to be revisited. When participants could choose sites, they visited fast-replenishing sites more often, left sites at higher levels of reward, and achieved a higher net reward rate. Decisions to exploit-or-leave a site were best explained with a computational model estimating separate reward rates for each site. This suggests option-specific information can be used to construct a threshold for patch leaving in some foraging settings, rather than a single average reward rate.

Suggested Citation

Hall-McMaster, Sam and Dayan, Peter and Schuck, Nicolas W., Control Over Patch Encounters Changes Foraging Behaviour. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3770102 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3770102
This version of the paper has not been formally peer reviewed.

Sam Hall-McMaster (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Human Development ( email )

Lentzeallee 94
D-14195 Berlin, 14195
Germany

Peter Dayan

Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics

Tübingen
Germany

Nicolas W. Schuck

Max Planck Institute for Human Development ( email )

Lentzeallee 94
D-14195 Berlin, 14195
Germany

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