Priming exploration across domains: Does search in a spatial environment influence search in a cognitive environment?

Farid Anvari, Davide Marchiori

Publikation: Working paperForskningpeer review


Is there a general tendency to explore that connects search behaviour across different domains? Although the experimental evidence collected so far by neuroscientific and psychological studies suggests an affirmative answer, this fundamental question about human behaviour remains open. A feasible way to test the domain-generality hypothesis is that of testing the so-called priming hypothesis: If a general tendency to explore does exist, then priming explorative behaviour in one domain should subsequently influence explorative behaviour in another domain. However, only a limited number of studies have experimentally tested this priming hypothesis, and the evidence is mixed. We test the priming hypothesis in a registered report. We will manipulate explorative behaviour in a spatial search task by randomly allocating people to search environments with resources that are either clustered together or dispersedly distributed. People in the clustered environments will be primed to search in a more clustered manner compared to those in the dispersed environments, who will be primed to search more diffusely. Therefore, in a subsequent anagram task (a cognitive search task), participants who searched in clustered environments should search for words in a more clustered way than participants who searched in the dispersed environments. The proposed study is designed to (1) limit the possibility of statistical artifacts (namely, controlling the Type 1 error rate and publication bias), (2) examine the generalizability (to a different task) of the priming effect found in previous studies, and (3) eliminate some potential shortcomings of previous study designs.
StatusAfsendt - 2020

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