Rational use of cognitive resources in human planning

Frederick Callaway, Bas van Opheusden, Sayan Gul, Priyam Das, Paul M. Krueger, Thomas L. Griffiths, Falk Lieder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Making good decisions requires thinking ahead, but the huge number of actions and outcomes one could consider makes exhaustive planning infeasible for computationally constrained agents, such as humans. How people are nevertheless able to solve novel problems when their actions have long-reaching consequences is thus a long-standing question in cognitive science. To address this question, we propose a model of resource-constrained planning that allows us to derive optimal planning strategies. We find that previously proposed heuristics such as best-first search are near optimal under some circumstances but not others. In a mouse-tracking paradigm, we show that people adapt their planning strategies accordingly, planning in a manner that is broadly consistent with the optimal model but not with any single heuristic model. We also find systematic deviations from the optimal model that might result from additional cognitive constraints that are yet to be uncovered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1112-1125
Number of pages14
JournalNature Human Behaviour
Volume6
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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