Send to

Choose Destination
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013 Aug;37(7):1187-200. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.03.015. Epub 2013 Mar 30.

Categorization = decision making + generalization.

Author information

Department of Psychology, Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA.


We rarely, if ever, repeatedly encounter exactly the same situation. This makes generalization crucial for real world decision making. We argue that categorization, the study of generalizable representations, is a type of decision making, and that categorization learning research would benefit from approaches developed to study the neuroscience of decision making. Similarly, methods developed to examine generalization and learning within the field of categorization may enhance decision making research. We first discuss perceptual information processing and integration, with an emphasis on accumulator models. We then examine learning the value of different decision making choices via experience, emphasizing reinforcement learning modeling approaches. Next we discuss how value is combined with other factors in decision making, emphasizing the effects of uncertainty. Finally, we describe how a final decision is selected via thresholding processes implemented by the basal ganglia and related regions. We also consider how memory related functions in the hippocampus may be integrated with decision making mechanisms and contribute to categorization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

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