On how the exploitation-exploration dicotomy shifts to exploitation as humans get older

R. Nathan Spreng, Gary R. Turner, From exploration to exploitation: a shifting mental mode in late life development, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 25, Issue 12, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2021.09.0010.

Changes in cognition, affect, and brain function combine to promote a shift in the nature of mentation in older adulthood, favoring exploitation of prior knowledge over exploratory search as the starting point for thought and action. Age-related exploitation biases result from the accumulation of prior knowledge, reduced cognitive control, and a shift toward affective goals. These are accompanied by changes in cortical networks, as well as attention and reward circuits. By incorporating these factors into a unified account, the exploration-to-exploitation shift offers an integrative model of cognitive, affective, and brain aging. Here, we review evidence for this model, identify determinants and consequences, and survey the challenges and opportunities posed by an exploitation-biased mental mode in later life.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation