Nature (Vol. 436, No. 7050, 28 July 2005) by Philip Campbell

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Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 021802 (2003). Ahmad, Q. R. et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 89, 011301 (2002). Pollack, H. , Hurter, S. J. & Johnson, J. R. Rev. Geophys. 31, 267–280 (1993). Hofmeister, A. M. & Criss, R. E. Tectonophysics 395, 159–177 (2005). McDonough, W. F. in Treatise on Geochemistry Vol. 2 (ed. Carlson, R. ) 547–568 (Elsevier, Oxford, 2003). Palme, H. & O’Neill, H. St C. in Treatise on Geochemistry Vol. 2 (ed. Carlson, R. ) 1–38 (Elsevier, Oxford, 2003). , van Westrenen, W. & Fei, Y. Nature 423, 163–165 (2003).

These motivations reflect a fundamental tradeoff in how we invest our time and effort: individuals must continually decide whether it would be better to pursue known sources of reward, or whether there is more to be gained by searching for new strategies or opportunities. In reinforcement learning, this dilemma is referred to as the trade-off between exploitation and exploration. There is growing evidence that the mechanisms used to resolve this trade-off are directly regulated by neuromodulators1–3.

Druffel, E. R. M. Glob. Biogeochem. Cycles 15, 407–416 (2001). 9. Raymond, P. A. et al. Mar. Chem. 92, 353–366 (2004). 10. Blair, N. E. et al. Mar. Chem. 92, 141 (2004). 11. Druffel, E. R. , Bauer, J. E. & Griffin, S. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. 6, Q03009 (2005). NEWS & VIEWS NATURE|Vol 436|28 July 2005 Decision amid uncertainty Jonathan D. Cohen and Gary Aston-Jones Choosing whether to stick to a belief or to abandon it in the face of uncertainty is central to human behaviour. Modelling implicates brain chemicals called neuromodulators in adjudicating this essential decision.

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