Adaptive information source selection during hypothesis testing

Andrew HendricksonUniversity of Adelaide
Amy PerforsUniversity of Adelaide
Daniel NavarroUniversity of Adelaide

Abstract

We consider how the information sources people use to test hypotheses change as the sparsity of the hypotheses – the proportion of items in the hypothesis space they include – changes. Specifically, we focus on understanding how requests for positive and negative evidence, which have been shown to be sensitive to hypothesis sparsity (Hendrickson, Navarro, & Perfors, in prep), are influenced by requests for specific in- stances, which show a positive bias and less sensitivity to sparsity (Markant & Gureckis, 2013). We find that people modify their information requests as a function of the sparsity of the hypotheses and they do so in this task primarily by by manipulating the rate of requesting positive and negative evidence. People were also most likely to select the information source that maximized the expected reduction in uncertainty across hypotheses.

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