The Effect of Complexity on Training for Exploration of Non-intuitive Rules in Theory of Mind

  • Nirit Yuviler-GavishEmail author
  • Doron Faran
  • Mark Berman
Original Research


The current research focused on training to enhance exploration in Theory of Mind (ToM), using a training program based on the game SET®. (© 1988, 1991 Cannei, LLC. All rights reserved. SET® and all associated logos and taglines are registered trademarks of Cannei, LLC. Used with permission from Set Enterprises, Inc.) Two experimental groups were tasked with predicting the selections of a virtual player given a set of unknown rules governing the assignment of values to SETs, where one aspect of the rules (the fact that some values were negative) was designed to be particularly unintuitive. In the Simple Rule group, there were only four sets of values and their assignment followed a pattern, whereas in the Complex Rule group, there were many sets of values and their assignment was arbitrary, requiring greater exploration to determine them. The Simple Rule group was better at predicting more-intuitive selections of the virtual player, while the Complex Rule group was both better and faster at predicting less-intuitive selections. Hence, exposing trainees to complex rules governing others’ decisions might be used to change people’s tendency toward under-exploration in ToM.


Decision-making Learning Games Cognitive structure Knowledge 



This research was supported in part by the ORT Braude College, Israel.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. The research involved human participants and was approved by the ORT Braude College’s ethical committee. Participants have signed on informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial Engineering and ManagementORT Braude CollegeKarmielIsrael
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsORT Braude CollegeKarmielIsrael

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