Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can Monkeys Choose Optimally When Faced With Noisy Stimuli And Unequal Rewards?

Date:
February 16, 2009
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Even when faced with distractions, monkeys are able to consistently choose the path of greatest reward, according to a new study. The study adds to the growing evidence that animal foraging behavior can approach optimality, and could provide a basis for understanding the computations involved in this and related tasks.

Even when faced with distractions, monkeys are able to consistently choose the path of greatest reward, according to a study conducted by researchers from Princeton and Stanford Universities. The study adds to the growing evidence that animal foraging behavior can approach optimality, and could provide a basis for understanding the computations involved in this and related tasks.

In the article, Feng and colleagues address ongoing experiments relating to monkeys' abilities to distinguish among moving stimuli. Monkeys were trained to identify the direction of motion of a field of randomly-moving dots, a fraction of which move coherently in one of two possible directions. But unlike most previous studies in which all correct choices were equally rewarded, different sized rewards were now associated with different stimuli, and the researchers developed a mathematical model to predict how the animals should balance sensory information and prior expectations regarding rewards, in order to maximize their net returns. The study is unique in that it assesses not only the accuracy of decisions, but also the overall harvesting efficiency.

Remarkably, the monkeys devised a near-optimal strategy. Across the course of several hundred choices in each daily session, with randomly interspersed coherence and reward conditions, their typical harvesting efficiency fell within 1-2% of the theoretical maximum. These findings reveal impressive decision-making ability, and raise important questions about the neural mechanisms that underlie it.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Feng S, Holmes P, Rorie A, Newsome WT. Can Monkeys Choose Optimally When Faced with Noisy Stimuli and Unequal Rewards? PLoS Comput Biol, 5(2): e1000284 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000284

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Can Monkeys Choose Optimally When Faced With Noisy Stimuli And Unequal Rewards?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090212210706.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2009, February 16). Can Monkeys Choose Optimally When Faced With Noisy Stimuli And Unequal Rewards?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090212210706.htm
Public Library of Science. "Can Monkeys Choose Optimally When Faced With Noisy Stimuli And Unequal Rewards?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090212210706.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins