Investigating intertemporal choice through experimental evolutionary robotics

In intertemporal choices, subjects face a trade-off between value and delay: achieving the most valuable outcome requires a longer time, whereas the immediately available option is objectively poorer. Intertemporal choices are ubiquitous, and comparative studies reveal commonalities and differences across species: all species devalue future rewards as a function of delay (delay aversion), yet there is a lot of inter-specific variance in how rapidly such devaluation occurs. These differences are often interpreted in terms of ecological rationality, as depending on environmental factors (e.g., feeding ecology) and the physiological and morphological constraints of different species (e.g., metabolic rate). Evolutionary hypotheses, however, are hard to verify in vivo, since it is difficult to observe precisely enough real environments, not to mention ancestral ones. In this paper, we discuss the viability of an approach based on evolutionary robotics: in Study 1, we evolve robots without a metabolism in five different ecologies; in Study 2, we evolve metabolic robots (i.e., robots that consume energy over time) in three different ecologies. The intertemporal choices of the robots are analyzed both in their ecology and under laboratory conditions. Results confirm the generality of delay aversion and the usefulness of studying intertemporal choice through experimental evolutionary robotics.

Tipo Pubblicazione: 
Author or Creator: 
Paglieri, Fabio
Parisi, Domenico
Patacchiola, Massimiliano
Petrosino, Giancarlo
Elsevier Science Ireland, Amsterdam , Paesi Bassi
Behavioural processes (Print) 115 (2015): 1–18. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2015.02.014
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Paglieri, Fabio; Parisi, Domenico; Patacchiola, Massimiliano; Petrosino, Giancarlo/titolo:Investigating intertemporal choice through experimental evolutionary robotics/doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2015.02.014/rivista:Behavioural process
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ISTC Author: 
Ritratto di Fabio Paglieri
Real name: 
Ritratto di Giancarlo Petrosino