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Jeremy M. Wolfe; When is it time to move to the next raspberry bush? Foraging rules in human visual search. Journal of Vision 2013;13(3):10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.3.10.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Animals, including humans, engage in many forms of foraging behavior in which resources are collected from the world. This paper examines human foraging in a visual search context. A real-world analog would be berry picking. The selection of individual berries is not the most interesting problem in such a task. Of more interest is when does a forager leave one patch or berry bush for the next one? Marginal Value Theorem (MVT; Charnov, 1976) predicts that observers will leave a patch when the instantaneous yield from that patch drops below the average yield from the entire “field.” Experiments 1, 2, 3, and 4 show that MVT gives a good description of human behavior for roughly uniform collections of patches. Experiments 5 and 6 show strong departures from MVT when patch quality varies and when visual information is degraded.
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