The explore-exploit dilemma occurs anytime we must choose between exploring unknown options for information and exploiting known resources for reward. Previous work suggests that people use two different strategies to solve the explore-exploit dilemma: directed exploration, driven by information seeking, and random exploration, driven by decision noise. Here, we show that these two strategies rely on different neural systems. Using transcranial magnetic stimulation to inhibit the right frontopolar cortex, we were able to selectively inhibit directed exploration while leaving random exploration intact. This suggests a causal role for right frontopolar cortex in directed, but not random, exploration and that directed and random exploration rely on (at least partially) dissociable neural systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)