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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2012 Dec;22(6):937-45. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2012.05.006. Epub 2012 Jun 14.

From a single decision to a multi-step algorithm.

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Collège de France, F-75005 Paris, France.


Humans can perform sequential and recursive computations, as when calculating 23×74. However, this comes at a cost: flexible computations are slow and effortful. We argue that this competence involves serial chains of successive decisions, each based on the accumulation of evidence up to a threshold and forwarding the result to the subsequent step. Such serial 'programs' require a specific neurobiological architecture, approximating the operation of a slow serial Turing machine. We review recent progress in understanding how the brain implements such multi-step decisions and briefly examine how they might be realized in models of primate cortex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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