Biomimetics of Choice Behaviour for Autonomous Agents

  • Christopher M. Harris
  • Jonathan Waddington
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7429)


Autonomy is inseparable from choice. Natural agents, including humans, make choices with probabilities that are proportional to the average reward from each choice (the ‘matching law’), rather than always choosing the alternative with maximum reward. Imbuing artificial agents with this flexibility is non-trivial. We introduce anti-competition mapping to overcome the tendency for high reward choices to dominate (mask) those with lower reward. The simplest solution is to map reward to new choice signals that generate proportional hazard functions. We demonstrate a procedure based on the reciprocal Normal distribution, a popular model of human reaction times. We then discuss the value of the matching law in synthetic agents.


Matching law decision making reward choices rate of response hazard rate exploitation exploration 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher M. Harris
    • 1
  • Jonathan Waddington
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Robotics and Neural SystemsPlymouth UniversityPlymouthUK

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