Causes of Individual Differences in Animal Exploration and Search

Topics in Cognitive Science 7 (3):451-468 (2015)

Numerous studies have documented individual differences in exploratory tendencies and other phenomena related to search, and these differences have been linked to fitness. Here, I discuss the origins of these differences, focusing on how experience shapes animal search and exploration. The origin of individual differences will also depend upon the alternatives to exploration that are available. Given that search and exploration frequently carry significant costs, we might expect individuals to utilize cues indicating the potential net payoffs of exploration versus the exploitation of known acts. Informative cues could arise from both recent and early-life experiences, from both the social and physical environment. Open questions are the extent to which an individual's exploratory tendencies are fixed throughout life versus being flexibly adjusted according to prevailing conditions and the actions of other individuals, and the extent to which individual differences in exploration extend across domains and are independent of other processes
Keywords Exploration–exploitation  Behavioral flexibility  Personality  Social information  Temperament  Individual differences  Search  Sampling
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DOI 10.1111/tops.12148
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References found in this work BETA

Computer Science as Empirical Inquiry: Symbols and Search.Allen Newell & Herbert A. Simon - 1981 - Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery 19:113-26.
Animal Innovation.Simon M. Reader & Kevin N. Laland (eds.) - 2003 - Oxford University Press.

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