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  The two faces of anxiety in exploration: Taking risks or playing it safe

Witte, K., Wise, T., & Schulz, E. (2022). The two faces of anxiety in exploration: Taking risks or playing it safe. In 5th Multidisciplinary Conference on Reinforcement Learning and Decision Making (RLDM 2022) (pp. 32).

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Witte, K1, 2, Author              
Wise, T, Author
Schulz, E1, 2, Author              
Affiliations:
1Research Group Computational Principles of Intelligence, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_3189356              
2Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497794              

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 Abstract: While in most lab studies of exploration behaviour, the only potential downside to exploration is forgoing rewards, in real life, there can be actual risks to exploration, making Safe Exploration strategies important to avoid catastrophic out- comes. In the present study, we contrast exploration behaviour in safe with exploration behaviour in risky environments, i.e. in environments where reckless exploration can lead to the loss of all previously acquired rewards. Using computa- tional modelling, we show that while people tend to use the same general strategy in both environments, they become more averse to uncertainty in risky environments compared to safe ones. We further investigate individual differences in exploration behaviour and show that while most types of anxiety and depression-related traits were associated with increased subjective uncertainty, there seemed to be two distinct strategies in dealing with this uncertainty: While sub- jects with high trait somatic anxiety decreased their exploration in risky environments, subjects high on depression and worry-related traits showed increased exploration and decreased aversion to uncertainty in risky environments. Our results reveal different aspects of exploration behaviour in a more ecologically valid task and show how this relates to transdiagnostic psychiatric traits, thereby illuminating potential disease mechanisms.

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 Dates: 2022-032022-05
 Publication Status: Published online
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Title: 5th Multidisciplinary Conference on Reinforcement Learning and Decision Making (RLDM 2022)
Place of Event: Providence, RI, USA
Start-/End Date: 2022-06-08 - 2022-06-11

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Title: 5th Multidisciplinary Conference on Reinforcement Learning and Decision Making (RLDM 2022)
Source Genre: Proceedings
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: 1.47 Start / End Page: 32 Identifier: -