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Algorithms and Numerical Exploration

The Tower of London Test (TOL) used to assess executive functions was inspired in Artificial Intelligence tasks used to test problem-solving algorithms. In this study, we compare the performance of humans and of exploration algorithms. Instead of absolute execution times, we focus on how the execution time varies with the tasks and/or the number of moves. This approach used in Algorithmic Complexity provides a fair comparison between humans and computers, although humans are several orders of magnitude slower. On easy tasks (1 to 5 moves), healthy elderly persons performed like exploration algorithms using bounded memory resources, i.e., the execution time grew exponentially with the number of moves. This result was replicated with a group of healthy young participants. However, for difficult tasks (5 to 8 moves) the execution time of young participants did not increase significantly, whereas for exploration algorithms, the execution time keeps on increasing exponentially. A pre-and post-test control task showed a 25% improvement of visuo-motor skills but this was insufficient to explain this result. The findings suggest that naive participants used systematic exploration to solve the problem but under the effect of practice, they developed markedly more efficient strategies using the information acquired during the test.

About the Author

Sudhakaran

 sudhakaran@iesolution.in

 November 26, 2017



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