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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Invariance of Information Seeking Across Reward Magnitudes

  • Author(s): Liew, Shi Xian
  • Newell, Ben
  • et al.

Most theoretical accounts of non-instrumental information seeking suggest that the magnitude of rewards has a direct influence on the attractiveness of the information. Specifically, the magnitude of rewards is assumed to be proportional to the strength of information seeking (or avoidant) behaviour. In a series of experiments using numerical and pictorial stimuli, we explore the extent to which observed information seeking behaviour tracks these predictions. Our findings indicate a robust independence of information seeking from outcome magnitude and valence with preferences for information largely remaining constant across different reward valence and magnitudes. We discuss these results in the context of current computational models with suggestions for future theoretical and empirical work.

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