Decision-making with multiple alternatives

Churchland, A. K., Kiani, R., Shadlen, M. N. (2008) Decision-making with multiple alternatives. Nature Neuroscience, 11 (6). pp. 693-702. ISSN 10976256 (ISSN)

DOI: 10.1038/nn.2123


Simple perceptual tasks have laid the groundwork for understanding the neurobiology of decision-making. Here, we examined this foundation to explain how decision-making circuitry adjusts in the face of a more difficult task. We measured behavioral and physiological responses of monkeys on a two- and four-choice direction-discrimination decision task. For both tasks, firing rates in the lateral intraparietal area appeared to reflect the accumulation of evidence for or against each choice. Evidence accumulation began at a lower firing rate for the four-choice task, but reached a common level by the end of the decision process. The larger excursion suggests that the subjects required more evidence before making a choice. Furthermore, on both tasks, we observed a time-dependent rise in firing rates that may impose a deadline for deciding. These physiological observations constitute an effective strategy for handling increased task difficulty. The differences appear to explain subjects' accuracy and reaction times. © 2008 Nature Publishing Group.

Item Type: Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: animal behavior animal experiment article controlled study decision making discrimination learning experimental animal monkey nonhuman parietal lobe perception priority journal reaction time stimulus response task performance Action Potentials Animals Behavior Animal Discrimination (Psychology) Eye Movements Haplorhini Motion Neurons Regression Analysis Spatial Behavior Task Performance and Analysis
Subjects: organism description > animal behavior
organism description > animal behavior > decision making
organism description > animal behavior > learning
organism description > animal > mammal > primates
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Churchland lab
Depositing User: CSHL Librarian
Date: 2008
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2012 14:55
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2014 15:05
PMCID: PMC2453226
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