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A Game of Hide and Seek: Expectations of Clumpy Resources Influence Hiding and Searching Patterns.

Wilke A, Minich S, Panis M, Langen TA, Skufca JD, Todd PM - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: We uncover human expectations of such spatial resource patterns in collaborative and competitive settings via a sequential multi-person game in which participants hid resources for the next participant to seek.More dispersed resource distributions came at the cost of higher overall hiding (as well as searching) times, decreased payoffs, and an increased difficulty when the hider had to recall earlier hiding locations at the end of the experiment.Thus participants showed expectations for clumpy versus dispersed spatial resources that matched the distributions commonly found in collaborative versus competitive foraging settings.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Resources are often distributed in clumps or patches in space, unless an agent is trying to protect them from discovery and theft using a dispersed distribution. We uncover human expectations of such spatial resource patterns in collaborative and competitive settings via a sequential multi-person game in which participants hid resources for the next participant to seek. When collaborating, resources were mostly hidden in clumpy distributions, but when competing, resources were hidden in more dispersed (random or hyperdispersed) patterns to increase the searching difficulty for the other player. More dispersed resource distributions came at the cost of higher overall hiding (as well as searching) times, decreased payoffs, and an increased difficulty when the hider had to recall earlier hiding locations at the end of the experiment. Participants' search strategies were also affected by their underlying expectations, using a win-stay lose-shift strategy appropriate for clumpy resources when searching for collaboratively-hidden items, but moving equally far after finding or not finding an item in competitive settings, as appropriate for dispersed resources. Thus participants showed expectations for clumpy versus dispersed spatial resources that matched the distributions commonly found in collaborative versus competitive foraging settings.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Sample resource grids created by participants in the hiding task.Plots show hiding patterns in Experiment 1 in the competitive condition (left side) and collaborative condition (right side).
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pone.0130976.g004: Sample resource grids created by participants in the hiding task.Plots show hiding patterns in Experiment 1 in the competitive condition (left side) and collaborative condition (right side).

Mentions: As expected (Hypothesis 1), participants chose hyperdispersed resource distributions in the competitive setting [p(A) = .63]—see Fig 4 (left column) for examples. In the collaborative setting, participants mostly used clumpy hiding distributions [p(A) = .35], with many creating highly clustered patterns with very low alternation probabilities [for instance, 25 out of 79 participants in Experiment 1 created the single-clump pattern in Fig 4, top right, with p(A) = .06], supporting Hypothesis 2. However, a few collaborative participants (15 in Experiment 1 and 7 in Experiment 2) created perfectly alternating checkerboard patterns [i.e., p(A) = 1], presumably hoping that their opponents would look for resources that way, while others opted for resource displays showing aspects of symmetry [e.g., 11 in Experiment 1 used something close to Fig 4, bottom right, with p(A) = .36]. To capture the fact that grids with both very high and very low p(A) values are mostly highly patterned, we constructed a new configuration measure, C = /p(A) − .5//.5, where values of C near 0 typically indicate a lack of pattern (randomness) and values near 1 indicate a strong pattern of blocks or checkerboard alternation. (Other rarer patterns are not characterized effectively by this measure, like that in the bottom right of Fig 4, but these are also more difficult for fellow searchers to figure out and exploit.) Using this statistic, we find that C = .39 on average in Experiment 1 in the competitive condition (.28 in Experiment 2), indicating an overall lack of pattern to make searching more difficult for the opponent, while C = .75 on average in Experiment 1 in the collaborative condition (.67 in Experiment 2), indicating greater overall use of block or alternation patterns to make searching easier for the opponent. The differences in relative absence or use of these patterns are statistically significant (see Table 1).


A Game of Hide and Seek: Expectations of Clumpy Resources Influence Hiding and Searching Patterns.

Wilke A, Minich S, Panis M, Langen TA, Skufca JD, Todd PM - PLoS ONE (2015)

Sample resource grids created by participants in the hiding task.Plots show hiding patterns in Experiment 1 in the competitive condition (left side) and collaborative condition (right side).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4495993&req=5

pone.0130976.g004: Sample resource grids created by participants in the hiding task.Plots show hiding patterns in Experiment 1 in the competitive condition (left side) and collaborative condition (right side).
Mentions: As expected (Hypothesis 1), participants chose hyperdispersed resource distributions in the competitive setting [p(A) = .63]—see Fig 4 (left column) for examples. In the collaborative setting, participants mostly used clumpy hiding distributions [p(A) = .35], with many creating highly clustered patterns with very low alternation probabilities [for instance, 25 out of 79 participants in Experiment 1 created the single-clump pattern in Fig 4, top right, with p(A) = .06], supporting Hypothesis 2. However, a few collaborative participants (15 in Experiment 1 and 7 in Experiment 2) created perfectly alternating checkerboard patterns [i.e., p(A) = 1], presumably hoping that their opponents would look for resources that way, while others opted for resource displays showing aspects of symmetry [e.g., 11 in Experiment 1 used something close to Fig 4, bottom right, with p(A) = .36]. To capture the fact that grids with both very high and very low p(A) values are mostly highly patterned, we constructed a new configuration measure, C = /p(A) − .5//.5, where values of C near 0 typically indicate a lack of pattern (randomness) and values near 1 indicate a strong pattern of blocks or checkerboard alternation. (Other rarer patterns are not characterized effectively by this measure, like that in the bottom right of Fig 4, but these are also more difficult for fellow searchers to figure out and exploit.) Using this statistic, we find that C = .39 on average in Experiment 1 in the competitive condition (.28 in Experiment 2), indicating an overall lack of pattern to make searching more difficult for the opponent, while C = .75 on average in Experiment 1 in the collaborative condition (.67 in Experiment 2), indicating greater overall use of block or alternation patterns to make searching easier for the opponent. The differences in relative absence or use of these patterns are statistically significant (see Table 1).

Bottom Line: We uncover human expectations of such spatial resource patterns in collaborative and competitive settings via a sequential multi-person game in which participants hid resources for the next participant to seek.More dispersed resource distributions came at the cost of higher overall hiding (as well as searching) times, decreased payoffs, and an increased difficulty when the hider had to recall earlier hiding locations at the end of the experiment.Thus participants showed expectations for clumpy versus dispersed spatial resources that matched the distributions commonly found in collaborative versus competitive foraging settings.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Resources are often distributed in clumps or patches in space, unless an agent is trying to protect them from discovery and theft using a dispersed distribution. We uncover human expectations of such spatial resource patterns in collaborative and competitive settings via a sequential multi-person game in which participants hid resources for the next participant to seek. When collaborating, resources were mostly hidden in clumpy distributions, but when competing, resources were hidden in more dispersed (random or hyperdispersed) patterns to increase the searching difficulty for the other player. More dispersed resource distributions came at the cost of higher overall hiding (as well as searching) times, decreased payoffs, and an increased difficulty when the hider had to recall earlier hiding locations at the end of the experiment. Participants' search strategies were also affected by their underlying expectations, using a win-stay lose-shift strategy appropriate for clumpy resources when searching for collaboratively-hidden items, but moving equally far after finding or not finding an item in competitive settings, as appropriate for dispersed resources. Thus participants showed expectations for clumpy versus dispersed spatial resources that matched the distributions commonly found in collaborative versus competitive foraging settings.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus