Should we keep doing what we know works for us, or should we risk trying something new as it could work even better? The exploration–exploitation dilemma is ubiquitous in daily life decision-making, and balancing between the two is crucial for adaptive behavior. Yet, we only have started to unravel the neurocognitive mechanisms that help us to find this balance in practice. Analyzing BOLD signals of healthy young adults during virtual foraging, we could show that a behavioral tendency for prolonged exploitation was associated with weakened signaling during exploration in central node points of the frontoparietal attention network, plus the frontopolar cortex. These results provide an important link between behavioral heuristics that we use to balance between exploitation and exploration and the brain function that supports shifts from one tendency to the other. Importantly, they stress that interindividual differences in behavioral strategies are reflected in differences in brain activity during exploration and should thus be more in the focus of basic research that aims at delineating general laws governing visual attention.

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