Decision-making with multiple alternatives

Anne K. Churchland, Roozbeh Kiani, Michael N. Shadlen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-702
Number of pages10
JournalNature Neuroscience
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008

Fingerprint

Decision Making
Neurobiology
Haplorhini
Discrimination (Psychology)
Handling (Psychology)
Direction compound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Decision-making with multiple alternatives. / Churchland, Anne K.; Kiani, Roozbeh; Shadlen, Michael N.

In: Nature Neuroscience, Vol. 11, No. 6, 06.2008, p. 693-702.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Churchland, AK, Kiani, R & Shadlen, MN 2008, 'Decision-making with multiple alternatives', Nature Neuroscience, vol. 11, no. 6, pp. 693-702. https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2123
Churchland, Anne K. ; Kiani, Roozbeh ; Shadlen, Michael N. / Decision-making with multiple alternatives. In: Nature Neuroscience. 2008 ; Vol. 11, No. 6. pp. 693-702.
@article{d88d0f3656a74e5a8a98e733ee015c30,
title = "Decision-making with multiple alternatives",
abstract = "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.",
author = "Churchland, {Anne K.} and Roozbeh Kiani and Shadlen, {Michael N.}",
year = "2008",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1038/nn.2123",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "11",
pages = "693--702",
journal = "Nature Neuroscience",
issn = "1097-6256",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Decision-making with multiple alternatives

AU - Churchland, Anne K.

AU - Kiani, Roozbeh

AU - Shadlen, Michael N.

PY - 2008/6

Y1 - 2008/6

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=44349161769&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=44349161769&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/nn.2123

DO - 10.1038/nn.2123

M3 - Article

C2 - 18488024

AN - SCOPUS:44349161769

VL - 11

SP - 693

EP - 702

JO - Nature Neuroscience

JF - Nature Neuroscience

SN - 1097-6256

IS - 6

ER -