Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Input-output trade-offs found in human information processing

17.08.2010
The most beautiful thing about humans, says Indiana University researcher S. Lee Hong, is that they are both ever-changing and sometimes prone to error. Yet humans are still extremely flexible and adaptable, managing the transition from one context to another almost seamlessly. His new study demonstrates how this adaptability boils down to a zero-sum game.

"There's a famous Einstein quote: 'God does not play dice.' Unfortunately, we all have to do so every day," said Hong, assistant professor in IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. "Humans are unpredictably variable organisms living in fundamentally unpredictable and uncertain environments. Humans are capable of adapting to different levels of uncertainty, which is quite well documented, but 'how' has been unknown up to this time."

Hong's study, published in PLoS One, involves information processing and found that human behavior is systematic, not random, demonstrating a trade-off between input and out. The study also points to limitations to information processing, Hong said.

The paper can be found at http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0011461

Hong and his co-author, Melissa R. Beck, cognitive psychology professor at Louisiana State University, studied eye movement and response times to stimuli sequences that included varying levels of uncertainty or unpredictability. When the researchers increased the uncertainty in the environment by having images on a computer monitor appear in different locations in irregular intervals, the uncertainty of study participants' scanning patterns decreased. When the "input," or the objects' appearances became more regular or predictable, the level of uncertainty of the study participants' "output," or scanning behavior increased.

Hong uses a desk as an example. If someone needs to find a note on a desk with little clutter, his search need not be thorough. He can effectively glance around the desk to find what he wants. If the desk is messy or contains many papers and other objects, his search will need to be more systematic to find what he is looking for to make sure he hasn't missed anything. If he ransacked the desk in a random fashion, it likely would take longer to find the note.

"These exchanges are pretty much equal and opposite, much like the laws of the conservation of momentum and energy," Hong said. "More importantly, it seems that the human organism is fundamentally in tune with patterns of uncertainty, evolved, maybe. It's definitely a question for the future."

The study involved 29 college students. They generated repeated responses to a continuous series of visual stimuli presented on a computer monitor. As soon as a target was detected, they pressed a keypad. The researchers manipulated where and when the targets would appear. The more uncertain the time and place of the stimulus, the more systematic the visual search strategy was. On the other hand, their response times became much more unpredictable. The most interesting finding, said Hong, was that the changes in uncertainty of the eye movements were a virtual mirror image of the changes in uncertainty in the response times.

"The results show that the subjects adapted their visual search behavior to adjust to the different levels of stimulus uncertainty," the authors wrote in their paper.

Hong also is an associate member of IU's Cognitive Science Program and a full member of the Neuroscience Program, both in the College of Arts and Sciences. His research focuses on patterns of change in movement behavior.

To speak with Hong, contact Tracy James
at 812-855-0084 and traljame@indiana.edu

Tracy James | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.indiana.edu
http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/15199.html

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder

22.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Positrons as a new tool for lithium ion battery research: Holes in the electrode

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>