Explore or exploit: How our brains make choices?
People make countless choices every day. Decision-making shapes our knowledge and our perceptions of the world around us. These simple and complex choices are generally between something familiar—where we mostly know what to expect—and trying something new, where the outcome might be unknown to us. But what happens inside our brain when we make one choice or the other?

The research was a collaboration between The University of New Mexico and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), and involved looking at modeling data of rhesus macaques, and observational data of humans using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) technology. The subjects were presented with three choices, with limited opportunities to learn the value of each choice, and a random replacement of one of the choices over time. Uncertainty always accompanied the new choice because its reward value could not be predicted, and the only way to learn about the choice was to explore it.

Explore-exploit decision-making is impaired in brain disorders that have a significant public health impact. Overly-exploratory and overly-exploitative decision-making traits are likely to play a role in the challenges faced by many patients with psychiatric, neurological, or neurodevelopmental disorders.

Source: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-04-explore-exploit-brains-choices.html