Explain, explore, exploit: Effects of explanation on information search

Year of Conference


Conference Proceedings

How does actively seeking explanations for one’s observations affect information search over the course of learning? Generating explanations could plausibly lead learners to take advantage of the information they have already obtained, resulting in less exploration. Alternatively, explaining could lead learners to explore more, especially after encountering evidence that suggests their current beliefs are incorrect. In two experiments using a modified observe or bet task, we investigate these possibilities and find support for the latter: participants who are prompted to explain their observations in the course of learning tend to explore more, especially after encountering evidence that challenges a current belief.

Conference Name
Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society