Peter M. Todd's research while affiliated with Indiana University Bloomington and other places

Publications (227)

Chapter
Humans constantly search for and use information to solve a wide range of problems related to survival, social interactions, and learning. While it is clear that curiosity and the drive for knowledge occupies a central role in defining what being human means to ourselves, where does this desire to know the unknown come from? What is its purpose? An...
Article
Individuals can hold contrasting views about distinct times: for example, dread over tomorrow's appointment and excitement about next summer's vacation. Yet, psychological measures of optimism often assess only one time point or ask participants to generalize about their future. Here, we address these limitations by developing the optimism curve, a...
Article
Friendships provide social support and mental health benefits, yet the COVID-19 pandemic has limited interactions with friends. In August 2020, we asked participants (N = 634) about their friendships during the pandemic as part of a larger study. We found that younger people and people with higher subjective SES reported more negative effects on th...
Preprint
Given the importance of friendships during challenging times and the mixed associations reported between personality traits and disease-related behaviors, we investigated the influence of personality traits on friendships during the COVID-19 pandemic and how both influenced risky behaviors. In November 2020, we asked participants about their reacti...
Article
Research into the social dimensions of climate decision making has proliferated in recent years. This body of work is informed by principles from decision science and addresses questions around when and why people adopt behaviors in response to climate change. The vast majority of this research is based on studies in relatively wealthier population...
Article
It is a difficult time to be a farmer, particularly in the midwestern US, where a slow-moving farm crisis has been brewing. In recent years farmers have faced multiple socioeconomic threats such as a trade war with China, industry consolidation, and decreasing farmgate prices, as well as multiple environmental threats, including flooding and drough...
Preprint
Recency effects—giving exaggerated importance to recent outcomes—are a common aspect of decision tasks. In the current study, we explore two explanations of recency-based decision making, that it is (1) a deliberate strategy for adaptive decision making in real-world environments which tend to be dynamic and autocorrelated, and/or (2) a product of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite continued transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and sustained recommendations to wear protective face coverings, many people remained reluctant to comply throughout the early months of the pandemic. In the present study we surveyed an international cohort of participants on three different occasions from July to August, 2020 (N = 695) to examine the r...
Preprint
Full-text available
What explains differences in attitudes towards wearing protective face masks to limit the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus? We investigated potential drivers of attitudes about mask wearing as part of a longitudinal study during the COVID-19 pandemic (N-participants = 711, N-countries = 36), focusing on people’s perceptions and feelings about seeing...
Preprint
Friendships are important for social support and mental health, yet social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic have limited people’s ability to interact with their friends during this difficult time. In August of 2020, we asked participants about changes in their friendships as a result of the pandemic - including changes in the quality of frie...
Preprint
Individuals can hold contrasting views about distinct times, e.g., dread over tomorrow’s appointment and excitement about next summer’s vacation. Yet, psychological measures of happiness and optimism often assess only one time-point. Taking inspiration from the Treasury bond yield curve, which compares bond yields by their date to maturity, we comp...
Preprint
Full-text available
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing protective facial masks has become a divisive issue, yet little is known about what drives differences in mask wearing across individuals. We surveyed 711 people around the world, asking about mask wearing and several other variables. We found that people who reported greater perceived risk of i...
Article
Full-text available
In situations of uncertainty, people often make decisions with heuristic shortcuts or decision rules, rather than using computational or logical methods such as optimizing their behavior based on specific goals. The high level of uncertainty and complexity involved in adapting to climate change suggests that heuristics would be commonly used in thi...
Chapter
Full-text available
The study of ecological rationality situates Simon’s notion of bounded rationality within the framework of natural selection, emphasizing that the evolved capacities of decision-making organisms have been shaped by and are adapted to the structure and fitness pressures of ancestral environments. Research in ecological rationality considers the fit...
Article
Full-text available
From training for a marathon to completing a college degree, long-term goals are used to accomplish several highly-valued life achievements. These goals require present activity with predominantly future benefits, a tradeoff that requires individuals to exert self-control as they work toward their goals. While these goals are highly valued, people...
Preprint
Full-text available
Do crises bring people together or pull them apart? Here we examine how people’s willingness to help others and their perceived interdependence with others changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and assess what factors are associated with any change. We collected data at 4 time points from the same cohort of 497 paid participants, starting on March...
Article
People and other animals can search for information inside their heads. Where does this ability come from, and what does it enable cognitive systems to do? In this article, we address the behavioral and cognitive similarities between search in external environments and internal environments (e.g., memory). These require both maplike representations...
Article
Full-text available
Impairments in category verbal fluency task (VFT) performance have been widely documented in psychosis. These deficits may be due to disturbed “cognitive foraging” in semantic space, in terms of altered salience of cues that influence individuals to search locally within a subcategory of semantically related responses (“clustering”) or globally bet...
Article
How, and how well, do people switch between exploration and exploitation to search for and accumulate resources? We study the decision processes underlying such exploration/exploitation trade‐offs using a novel card selection task that captures the common situation of searching among multiple resources (e.g., jobs) that can be exploited without dep...
Article
How do singles' strategies for engaging in sexual activity with a new partner vary across the adult lifespan? Using three large and independent demographically representative cross-sectional samples of heterosexual single adults in the U.S., we found that females approaching the typical age of menopause became less likely to establish relationship...
Article
Humans often say they prefer certain attributes and trait levels and yet choose options inconsistent with those preferences, a phenomenon known as the stated–revealed preference gap. In this article, we compare preferences and choices in the decision to adopt a dog, a social-choice problem that is largely one-sided. We used existing and newly gathe...
Poster
Mobile dating is one of the most popular methods for meeting new romantic partners and offers a rich, high external-validity method for studying mate choice. Previous researchers studying romantic decisions “in the wild” have turned to speed dating, a face-to-face sequential mate-choice paradigm. How do these two methods of mate choice compare? To...
Poster
Individuals searching for romantic partners often do so in sequential environments, as in the secretary problem, but can choose more than one partner. How does sequence order impact decision-making? Using real data from speed-dating and Tinder, we find no evidence of recency or primacy effects, but within Tinder, evidence for assimilation effects....
Preprint
How, and how well, do people switch between exploration and exploitation to search for and accumulate resources? We study the decision processes underlying such exploration/exploitation tradeoffs by using a novel card selection task. With experience, participants learn to switch appropriately between exploration and exploitation and approach optima...
Article
In this editorial, the authors note that much of the research in evolutionary psychology uses standard laboratory psychology methods to illuminate evolutionarily adaptive behavior. What is too often missing is both the incorporation of some of the rich methods that evolutionary biology offers (Goal 1), and a deeper consideration of the cognitive me...
Article
Animals foraging for resources often need to alternate between searching for and benefiting from patches of those resources. Here we explore whether such patterns of behavior can usefully be applied to the human search for romantic relationships. Optimal foraging theory (OFT) suggests that foragers should alter their time spent in patches based on...
Article
Full-text available
To understand the possible forms of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI), we need not only astrobiology theories about how life evolves given habitable planets, but also evolutionary psychology theories about how intelligence emerges given life. Wherever intelligent organisms evolve, they are likely to face similar behavioral challenges in their phy...
Article
Full-text available
We discuss the evolutionary implications of connections drawn between the authors' learned “secondary modules” and the habit-formation system that appears to be ubiquitous among vertebrates. Prior to any subsequent coevolution with social learning, we suggest that aspects of general intelligence likely arose in tandem with mechanisms of adaptive mo...
Article
Full-text available
This article features an interdisciplinary debate and dialogue about the nature of mind, perception, and rationality. Scholars from a range of disciplines — cognitive science, applied and experimental psychology, behavioral economics, and biology — offer critiques and commentaries of a target article by Felin, Koenderink, and Krueger (2017): “Ratio...
Presentation
A number of works have examined how the efficacy of strategies change with the environment and under competition. However, few have examined how searching changes the environment itself. Using a agent-based foraging simulation in a patchy environment, we examine the qualitative and quantitative differences made to the distribution of resources by a...
Article
Faced with ever-changing products, consumers can benefit from trying new items. But data collected over almost five years show that, the longer shoppers have been buying a favourite product, the more likely they are to stick with it.
Chapter
Food choice plays a fundamental role in both biological and cultural evolution. As social generalists eating a wide range of foods, humans have faced two great problems in their evolution: how to figure out what is toxic and what is nutritive—the omnivore's dilemma—and how to coordinate the learned knowledge of multiple individuals to succeed in om...
Chapter
The usual approach to studying cognition in evolutionary psychology is in terms of information-processing mechanisms selected to solve domain-specific problems. But there are also important selective forces operating widely across domains, leading to common design features in many cognitive systems. In particular, the costs of gathering information...
Chapter
This chapter shows how a set of broad forces operating on multiple domains can impact the design of specific cognitive systems. It focuses on three topics of central interest to cognitive psychologists: decision making, memory, and representations of information. The chapter illustrates how considering broad selective pressures arising from the con...
Article
Full-text available
Resources are often distributed in clumps or patches in space, unless an agent is trying to protect them from discovery and theft using a dispersed distribution. We uncover human expectations of such spatial resource patterns in collaborative and competitive settings via a sequential multi-person game in which participants hid resources for the nex...
Article
In recent work exploring the semantic fluency task, we found evidence indicative of optimal foraging policies in memory search that mirror search in physical environments. We determined that a 2-stage cue-switching model applied to a memory representation from a semantic space model best explained the human data. Abbott, Austerweil, and Griffiths d...
Article
Full-text available
Many decisions in the lives of animals and humans require a fine balance between the exploration of different options and the exploitation of their rewards. Do you buy the advertised car, or do you test drive different models? Do you continue feeding from the current patch of flowers, or do you fly off to another one? Do you marry your current part...
Poster
As humans age and their reproductive window closes, how do they alter their search for reproductive partners? We hypothesized that when time plays a critical role in the possibility of reproduction, such as near menopause, reproductive strategies change. Results indicate that individuals may unconsciously alter their search patterns for reproductiv...
Article
Full-text available
When searching for concepts in memory-as in the verbal fluency task of naming all the animals one can think of-people appear to explore internal mental representations in much the same way that animals forage in physical space: searching locally within patches of information before transitioning globally between patches. However, the definition of...
Presentation
Social organization of networks is often characterized by homophily, where similar individuals cluster together. Within academic collaboration networks, clustering can take the form of departmental affiliations, which can prevent researchers from collaborating with similar individuals in other departments and inhibit interdisciplinary and innovativ...
Article
Full-text available
Search can be found in almost every cognitive activity, ranging across vision, memory retrieval, problem solving, decision making, foraging, and social interaction. Because of its ubiquity, research on search has a tendency to fragment into multiple areas of cognitive science. The proposed topic aims at providing integrative discussion of the centr...
Article
While theories of rationality and decision making typically adopt either a single-powertool perspective or a bag-of-tricks mentality, the research program of ecological rationality bridges these with a theoretically-driven account of when different heuristic decision mechanisms will work well. Here we described two ways to study how heuristics matc...
Chapter
Social scientists have a longstanding theoretical interest in the relationship between individual behavior and social dynamics. A growing body of work demonstrates that, when human behavior is interdependent—that is, what one person does depends on the past, present, or anticipated future actions of others—there is not a simple or linear relationsh...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In collaborative tagging systems, it is generally assumed that users assign tags to facilitate retrieval of content at a later time. There is, however, little behavioral evidence that tags actually serve this purpose. Using a large-scale dataset from the social music website Last.fm, we explore how patterns of music tagging and subsequent listening...
Article
Many competitions, such as political campaigns, innovative endeavors, sports, or courting rituals, require investment of nonrefundable resources: One contestant wins the prize for the invested amount, whereas all others lose their investments without receiving compensation. Frequently, contests are asymmetric, because of differing resources or priz...
Chapter
Full-text available
As an example of exploring human memory cue use in an ecologically valid context, we present ongoing work to examine the “memory cue hypothesis” in collaborative tagging. In collaborative tagging systems, which allow users to assign freeform textual labels to digital resources, it is generally assumed that tags function as memory cues that facilita...
Article
Full-text available
A folksonomy is ostensibly an information structure built up by the "wisdom of the crowd", but is the "crowd" really doing the work? Tagging is in fact a sharply skewed process in which a small minority of "supertagger" users generate an overwhelming majority of the annotations. Using data from three large-scale social tagging platforms, we explore...
Article
Full-text available
Search is a ubiquitous property of life. Although diverse domains have worked on search problems largely in isolation, recent trends across disciplines indicate that the formal properties of these problems share similar structures and, often, similar solutions. Moreover, internal search (e.g., memory search) shows similar characteristics to externa...
Article
Humans and many other species selectively attend to stimuli or stimulus dimensions—but why should an animal constrain information input in this way? To investigate the adaptive functions of attention, we used a genetic algorithm to evolve simple connectionist networks that had to make categorization decisions in a variety of environmental structure...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A folksonomy is ostensibly an information structure built up by the "wisdom of the crowds", but is the "crowd" re-ally doing the work? Tagging is in fact a sharply skewed process in which a small minority of users generate an over-whelming majority of the annotations. Using data from the social music site Last.fm as a case study, this paper explore...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Many organisms, human and otherwise, engage in path fol-lowing in physical environments across a wide variety of contexts. Inspired by evidence that spatial search and information search share cognitive underpinnings, we explored whether path information could also be useful in a Web search context. We developed a prototype in-terface for presentin...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes the design process and development of a 3D immersive serious game, Heuristica. The objective of this video game is to train players to improve their decision making by mitigating cognitive biases in an engaging and effective way. Heuristica is the result of three development and empirical evaluation cycles over 18 months. Sever...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper, we examine the effects of three video game variables: camera perspective (1st person versus 3rd person), session duration, and repeated play on training participants to mitigate three cognitive biases. We developed a 70 minute, 3D immersive video game for use as an experimentation test bed. One-hundred and sixty three participants ei...
Article
The amount of information available to help decide what foods to buy and eat is increasing rapidly with the advent of concerns about, and data on, health impacts, environmental effects, and economic consequences. This glut of information can be overwhelming when presented within the context of a high time-pressure, low involvement activity such as...
Article
The study of human color preferences, as well as the color preferences of other species, has long been an active area of research in psychology. However, these studies have been various in their methods and results. Researchers disagree about the ultimate and proximate causes of color preferences, as well as the ultimate and proximate causes of dif...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Many of the reproductive decisions that humans make happen without much planning or forethought, arising instead through the use of simple choice rules or heuristics that involve relatively little information and processing. Nonetheless, these heuristic-guided decisions are typically beneficial, owing to humans' ecological rationality -...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While research on collaborative tagging systems has largely been the purview of computer scientists, the behavior of these systems is driven by the psychology of their users. Here we explore how simple models of boundedly rational human decision making may partly account for the high-level proper- ties of a collaborative tagging environment, in par...
Article
To maintain a chance of occasionally beating a stronger player in a competition waged over several fields, a weaker player should give up on some of the fields and concentrate resources on the remaining ones. But when do weak players actually do this? And which fields do they give up when the fields differ in their likelihood of being assessed? We...
Chapter
Full-text available
The specific circumstances in which an individual encounters their mate options may influence how she chooses and, ultimately, whom she chooses. In particular, the choice environment may affect the cues we pay attention to, how we combine them and, ultimately (and significantly), our reproductive fate. This chapter consolidates the current state of...
Article
The ability to judge the romantic interest between others is an important aspect of mate choice for species living in social groups. Research has previously shown that humans can do this quickly—observers watching short clips of speed-dating videos can accurately predict the outcomes. Here we extend this work to show that observers from widely vary...
Chapter
"More information is always better, and full information is best. More computation is always better, and optimization is best." More-is-better ideals such as these have long shaped our vision of rationality. Yet humans and other animals typically rely on simple heuristics to solve adaptive problems, focusing on one or a few important cues and ignor...
Article
Full-text available
Do humans search in memory using dynamic local-to-global search strategies similar to those that animals use to forage between patches in space? If so, do their dynamic memory search policies correspond to optimal foraging strategies seen for spatial foraging? Results from a number of fields suggest these possibilities, including the shared structu...
Chapter
Book synopsis: Over a century ago, William James proposed that people search through memory much as they rummage through a house looking for lost keys. We scour our environments for territory, food, mates, and information. We search for items in visual scenes, for historical facts, and for the best deals on Internet sites; we search for new friends...
Article
This article describes some of the simple heuristics that the human mind has evolved to use in particular circumstances, and the pressures on decision making that may have shaped the contents of the mind's adaptive toolbox. It begins by considering the notion of bounded rationality - the assumption that human cognition is constrained by limits of s...
Article
Full-text available
There is much evidence that humans, as other species, are affected by social information when making mate-choice decisions. Witnessing a rival show interest in a member of the opposite sex tends to lead human observers of both sexes to thereafter rate that person as more appealing as a potential mate. However, how this occurs is not well understood...
Article
This chapter demonstrates how grand unified theories of cognition can be combined with the idea that the mind is a collection of disparate simple mechanisms. It first describes the "adaptive toolbox" model of the mind put forth by Gigerenzer and colleagues: a collection of simple heuristic mechanisms that can be used to good effect on particular ta...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
There are a number of mobile shopping aids and recommender systems available, but none can be easily used for a weekly shop at a local supermarket. We present a minimal, mobile and fully functional lambent display that clips onto any shopping trolley handle, intended to nudge people when choosing what to buy. It provides salient information about t...
Article
When predicting the next outcome in a sequence of events, people often appear to expect streaky patterns, such as that sport players can develop a “hot hand,” even if the sequence is actually random. This expectation, referred to as positive recency, can be adaptive in environments characterized by resources that are clustered across space or time...
Article
Full-text available
Consumers want more information about the food they consider buying. One way to provide such information is via food labeling, but not all label information can be used effectively. We tested how information on actual meat labels from a supermarket environment analysis was evaluated against a realistic new label when labels were seen separately vs....