Computational Psychiatry & Decision-making

Other Research Topics



The documents distributed here have been provided as a means to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work on a noncommercial basis. Copyright and all rights therein are maintained by the authors or by other copyright holders, notwithstanding that they have offered their works here electronically. It is understood that all persons copying this information will adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. These works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.


  • arxiv pdf Better safe than sorry: Risky function exploitation through safe optimization
  • Schulz E, Huys QJM, Bach DR, Speekenbrink M, Krause A
  • Proc Cog Sci 2016
  • Exploration-exploitation of functions, that is learning and optimizing a mapping between inputs and expected outputs, is ubiquitous to many real world situations. These situations sometimes require us to avoid certain outcomes at all cost, for example because they are poisonous, harmful, or otherwise dangerous. We test participants' behavior in scenarios in which they have to find the optimum of a function while at the same time avoid outputs below a certain threshold. In two experiments, we find that Safe-Optimization, a Gaussian Process-based exploration-exploitation algorithm, describes participants' behavior well and that participants seem to care firstly whether a point is safe and then try to pick the optimal point from all such safe points. This means that their trade-off between exploration and exploitation can be seen as an intelligent, approximate, and homeostasis-driven strategy.