Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2012 Dec;22(6):982-9. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2012.07.009. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

Neuroethology of decision-making.

Author information

1
Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Department of Neurobiology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, United States.

Abstract

A neuroethological approach to decision-making considers the effect of evolutionary pressures on neural circuits mediating choice. In this view, decision systems are expected to enhance fitness with respect to the local environment, and particularly efficient solutions to specific problems should be conserved, expanded, and repurposed to solve other problems. Here, we discuss basic prerequisites for a variety of decision systems from this viewpoint. We focus on two of the best-studied and most widely represented decision problems. First, we examine patch leaving, a prototype of environmentally based switching between action patterns. Second, we consider social information seeking, a process resembling foraging with search costs. We argue that while the specific neural solutions to these problems sometimes differ across species, both the problems themselves and the algorithms instantiated by biological hardware are repeated widely throughout nature. The behavioral and mathematical study of ubiquitous decision processes like patch leaving and social information seeking thus provides a powerful new approach to uncovering the fundamental design structure of nervous systems.

PMID:
22902613
PMCID:
PMC3510321
DOI:
10.1016/j.conb.2012.07.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center