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Learning the value of information and reward over time when solving exploration-exploitation problems

Cogliati Dezza, I; Yu, AJ; Cleeremans, A; Alexander, W; (2017) Learning the value of information and reward over time when solving exploration-exploitation problems. Scientific Reports , 7 , Article 16919. 10.1038/s41598-017-17237-w. Green open access

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Abstract

To flexibly adapt to the demands of their environment, animals are constantly exposed to the conflict resulting from having to choose between predictably rewarding familiar options (exploitation) and risky novel options, the value of which essentially consists of obtaining new information about the space of possible rewards (exploration). Despite extensive research, the mechanisms that subtend the manner in which animals solve this exploitation-exploration dilemma are still poorly understood. Here, we investigate human decision-making in a gambling task in which the informational value of each trial and the reward potential were separately manipulated. To better characterize the mechanisms that underlined the observed behavioural choices, we introduce a computational model that augments the standard reward-based reinforcement learning formulation by associating a value to information. We find that both reward and information gained during learning influence the balance between exploitation and exploration, and that this influence was dependent on the reward context. Our results shed light on the mechanisms that underpin decision-making under uncertainty, and suggest new approaches for investigating the exploration-exploitation dilemma throughout the animal kingdom.

Type: Article
Title: Learning the value of information and reward over time when solving exploration-exploitation problems
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-17237-w
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-17237-w
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Decision, Learning algorithms
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10083139
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