Quantum Probabilistic Description of Dealing with Risk and Ambiguity in Foraging Decisions
A forager in a patchy environment faces two types of uncertainty: ambiguity regarding the quality of the current patch and risk associated with the background opportunities. We argue that the order in which the forager deals with these uncertainties has an impact on the decision whether to stay at the current patch. The order effect is formalised with a context-dependent quantum probabilistic framework. Using Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, we demonstrate the two types of uncertainty cannot be simultaneously minimised, hence putting a formal limit on rationality in decision making. We show the applicability of the contextual decision function with agent-based modelling. The simulations reveal order-dependence. Given that foraging is a universal pattern that goes beyond animal behaviour, the findings help understand similar phenomena in other fields.
This work was partially supported by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme under Grant Agreement Number FP7-601138 PERICLES. Xavier Rubio-Campillo is supported by the SimulPast Project (CSD2010-00034), funded by the CONSOLIDER-INGENIO2010 program of the Ministry of Science and Innovation – Spain. We also thank the reviewers for their insights, they helped us clarify conceptual issues.
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