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.

Related Articles


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 February 1, 2015 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 February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 30, 2015) A nanosensor that mimics the oral effects and sensations of drinking wine has been developed by Danish and Portuguese researchers. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Retired astronaut and television host, Leland Melvin, snuck his dogs into the NASA studio so they could be in his official photo. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us, the secret is out. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The U.S. has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rarest Cat on Planet Caught Attacking Monkeys on Camera

Rarest Cat on Planet Caught Attacking Monkeys on Camera

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) An African Golden Cat, the rarest large cat on the planet was recently caught on camera by scientists trying to study monkeys. The cat comes out of nowhere to attack those monkeys. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) has the rest. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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