Optimal Foraging in Memory

Optimal foraging is a concept known in the animal kingdom and describes an animal’s optimal search and exploitation for resources. The animal takes optimal advantage of each food resource before moving on to the next cluster of food (e.g., a bush of berries). Humans also search for cognitive resources that can be seen as clusters with respect to some metric other than space, such as memory representations of words grouped by semantic categories or sets of solutions that can be navigated by working memory processes in a problem-solving task.
Divergent thinking tasks tap into this process by allowing the participant to exploit different clusters of answers. For example, a participant might first provide all their answers related to the weight of a brick, before proceeding to answers relating to “building” something with a brick.

In our R Shiny app, you can find more information on the theoretical background, the mathematical foundations and see how this works in a divergent thinking task for yourself.

R Shiny App
R code

Algorithm to automatically score the Alternative-Uses-Task: A first version

To achieve more reliability of creativity scores in the Alternative-Uses-Task, we are working on an algorithm that can provide score estimates for new responses. The work on an advanced algorithm is still in progress, but here we provide our previous version of the scoring algorithm.

The code file