Within the earlier publish I mentioned the “neuroeconomics of motion”, which is an strategy to the examine of motor management that assumes the nervous system chooses motor patterns by computing their estimated prices and advantages. One side of this computation that I did not point out, however which was talked about by my good friend Eric Krueger in a remark, is the trade-off between exploration and exploitation. I’ve been that means to speak about this trade-off for a very long time, and Eric’s remark prompted me to jot down about it, because it has a whole lot of relevance for some matters I focus on steadily, such because the position of play in motor studying.
The idea of the exploration-exploitation tradeoff originated in laptop science, and was later utilized in lots of different fields in search of to know advanced decision-making by clever programs, comparable to organisms and companies.
The essential dilemma posed by the trade-off is that this: in attempting to unravel an issue, must you depend on a widely known technique that delivers first rate outcomes with excessive confidence (exploitation), or strive an untested technique which may work significantly better, or result in the invention of helpful data (exploration)? By exploiting a identified useful resource you might be assured a sure degree of efficiency, however you might be additionally denied the opportunity of enchancment which may come from exploring completely different choices. Then again, exploration brings danger and uncertainty, but additionally the opportunity of studying one thing new and helpful which may be exploited sooner or later.
Within the context of motor management, exploitation refers to reliance on acquainted, recurring motion patterns. These are the methods the nervous system has beforehand decided to be environment friendly for a given job. Exploitation is about perfecting and using these identified patterns to make sure constant, dependable outcomes. It is following a well-trodden path or staying in a groove.
Exploration entails getting off the trail and into uncharted territory. It is about various actions, attempting new methods, and experimenting with completely different strategies. Whereas this would possibly introduce momentary inefficiency or awkwardness, it’s required for locating higher motion patterns which may finally be exploited as new habits.
We will add some nuance to those distinctions by imagining that the seek for higher options to motion issues is like exploring an enormous panorama of various choices. Options are represented by peaks within the panorama, and non-solutions are represented by valleys. The best peak is the optimum resolution.
Exploitation means discovering a peak after which merely shifting upward to the highest. This technique will finally deliver you to the highest of the native space, however there could also be far increased peaks on extra distant elements of the panorama. To seek out them, you’ll want to discover by descending out of your native peak, and perhaps even strolling by a number of valleys earlier than discovering the bottom of the very best mountain.
The desire for exploration or exploitation ought to rely in your degree of ability and schooling. Basically, early learners ought to interact in numerous exploration, so they do not lock themselves into suboptimal habits. However as they get higher at what they’re doing and grow to be fairly assured that their problem-solving strategies are almost optimized, they need to spend much less time exploring and extra time exploiting what they know.
We will use this metaphor to know how a golfer makes swing adjustments. A newbie might want to interact in important exploration to discover a good approach, as a result of the primary swing makes an attempt will most likely be fairly awkward. For instance, a novice might discover it simpler to make strong contact by taking a brief backswing and