Boredom, Information-Seeking and Exploration

Andra Geana, Robert C. Wilson, Nathaniel Daw, Jonathan D. Cohen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Any adaptive organism faces the choice between taking actions with known benefits (exploitation), and sampling new actions to check for other, more valuable opportunities available (exploration). The latter involves information-seeking, a drive so fundamental to learning and long-term reward that it can reasonably be considered, through evolution or development, to have acquired its own value, independent of immediate reward. Similarly, behaviors that fail to yield information may have come to be associated with aversive experiences such as boredom, demotivation, and task disengagement. In accord with these suppositions, we propose that boredom reflects an adaptive signal for managing the exploration-exploitation tradeoff, in the service of optimizing information acquisition and long-term reward. We tested participants in three experiments, manipulating the information content in their immediate task environment, and showed that increased perceptions of boredom arise in environments in which there is little useful information, and that higher boredom correlates with higher exploration. These findings are the first step toward a model formalizing the relationship between exploration, exploitation and boredom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2016
EditorsAnna Papafragou, Daniel Grodner, Daniel Mirman, John C. Trueswell
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
Pages1751-1756
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780991196739
StatePublished - 2016
Event38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Recognizing and Representing Events, CogSci 2016 - Philadelphia, United States
Duration: Aug 10 2016Aug 13 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2016

Conference

Conference38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Recognizing and Representing Events, CogSci 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPhiladelphia
Period8/10/168/13/16

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Keywords

  • boredom
  • exploration
  • information-seeking

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