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Optimal allocation of finite sampling capacity in accumulator models of multialternative decision making

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dc.contributor.author Ramírez Ruiz, Jorge
dc.contributor.author Moreno Bote, Rubén
dc.date.accessioned 2023-01-20T07:52:02Z
dc.date.available 2023-01-20T07:52:02Z
dc.date.issued 2022
dc.identifier.citation Ramírez-Ruiz J, Moreno-Bote R. Optimal allocation of finite sampling capacity in accumulator models of multialternative decision making. Cogn Sci. 2022;46(5):e13143. DOI: 10.1111/cogs.13143
dc.identifier.issn 0364-0213
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10230/55355
dc.description.abstract When facing many options, we narrow down our focus to very few of them. Although behaviors like this can be a sign of heuristics, they can actually be optimal under limited cognitive resources. Here, we study the problem of how to optimally allocate limited sampling time to multiple options, modeled as accumulators of noisy evidence, to determine the most profitable one. We show that the effective sampling capacity of an agent increases with both available time and the discriminability of the options, and optimal policies undergo a sharp transition as a function of it. For small capacity, it is best to allocate time evenly to exactly five options and to ignore all the others, regardless of the prior distribution of rewards. For large capacities, the optimal number of sampled accumulators grows sublinearly, closely following a power law as a function of capacity for a wide variety of priors. We find that allocating equal times to the sampled accumulators is better than using uneven time allocations. Our work highlights that multialternative decisions are endowed with breadth–depth tradeoffs, demonstrates how their optimal solutions depend on the amount of limited resources and the variability of the environment, and shows that narrowing down to a handful of options is always optimal for small capacities.
dc.description.sponsorship This work is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI, ref 55008742), MINECO (Spain; BFU2017-85936-P), and ICREA Academia (2016) to R.M.-B, and MINECO/ESF (Spain; PRE2018-084757) to J.R.-R.
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Wiley
dc.relation.ispartof Cognitive Science. 2022;46(5):e13143.
dc.relation.isreferencedby https://github.com/jorgeerrz/finite_time_allocation_paper
dc.rights This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
dc.title Optimal allocation of finite sampling capacity in accumulator models of multialternative decision making
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
dc.identifier.doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cogs.13143
dc.subject.keyword Allocation
dc.subject.keyword Accumulators
dc.subject.keyword Decision making
dc.subject.keyword Limited resources
dc.subject.keyword Multialternative
dc.subject.keyword Optimality
dc.relation.projectID info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/ES/2PE/BFU2017-85936-P
dc.relation.projectID info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/ES/2PE/PRE2018-084757
dc.rights.accessRights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
dc.type.version info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion

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