the reward equation includes a decay or ‘forgetting’ parameter, so what happens if you disrupt established solutions for long enough that their hold is broken? For example, the complete disruption to our established routines that Covid has caused over the last year? The answer for ants, if you disrupt all of the pheromone trails around their nest, is that they converge on a new solution in the environment, but it won’t necessarily look the same as the one they had before the disruption. > Morning Paper
This view is particularly interesting, because it can relate to habit forming strategies. When studying (or knowledge work in general), the retrieval and storage strength of thoughts is the parameter that allows us to understand whether we picked up information or not for the long term. The reward equation is similar to what spaced repetition proposes, but the other way around. Can we use the reward to tune human behavior? The quick answer is yes: social networks exploit the reward equation. So why not using it more often for other purposes?
Quick ideas: Using the reward equation in education.