Experiments on Information Foraging


  1. Bryant, D.J.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto Research Centre , Toronto ON (CAN)
Two experiments tested predictions of Information Foraging Theory (IFT) pertaining to “patch-leaving,” the decision to abandon an information source to search elsewhere. IFT predicts that increasing the between-patch cost associated with moving from one source of information to another should lead foragers to increase the time spent in each patch. Similarly, increasing the within-patch cost associated with processing individual information items should likewise increase the time spent in each patch. Participants searched for information relevant to solving a series of simulated analysis questions using the INformation FOraging Cognitive Analysis Tool (INFOCAT) platform. Information items were separated into a number of discrete databases and participants were allowed to freely search information and select items they judged to be relevant. In Experiment 1, the time delay associated with opening a database (between-patch time) was varied across analysis questions, while in Experiment 2, the time delay added to opening an information item (within-patch time) was varied across analysis questions. The results of the two experiments indicated no evidence that participants’ patch-leaving decisions were affected by either between- or within-patch costs. There was also no indication that participants’ search behaviour changed over the course of an experimental session. These results suggest that people do not necessarily apply optimal foraging strategies to information search

Il y a un résumé en français ici.

Information foraging;heuristic;optimization
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2017-R159 — Scientific Report
Date of publication
01 Nov 2017
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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