Information Search with Depleting and Non-Depleting Resources


Predictions about information search behavior have been informed by extensive research in food foraging behavior. However, information foraging environments may differ in key ways from food foraging environments, and these differences may impact search behavior. We investigated the effect of patch distribution (depleting or non-depleting) and ability to return to previously searched patches on participants’ decision to switch from one patch to another while searching. Whether or not a participant could return after leaving a patch led to fewer samples and fewer relevant items found. Whether or not the patches depleted and whether it was possible to return to a patch influenced stopping rules, indicating that these factors may alter the size of the increment applied through the Incremental Rule.

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