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Elife. 2014 May 27;3. doi: 10.7554/eLife.02260.

A neural mechanism of speed-accuracy tradeoff in macaque area LIP.

Author information

1
Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, United States.
2
Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, United States.
3
Department of Neuroscience, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, New York, United States.

Abstract

Decision making often involves a tradeoff between speed and accuracy. Previous studies indicate that neural activity in the lateral intraparietal area (LIP) represents the gradual accumulation of evidence toward a threshold level, or evidence bound, which terminates the decision process. The level of this bound is hypothesized to mediate the speed-accuracy tradeoff. To test this, we recorded from LIP while monkeys performed a motion discrimination task in two speed-accuracy regimes. Surprisingly, the terminating threshold levels of neural activity were similar in both regimes. However, neurons recorded in the faster regime exhibited stronger evidence-independent activation from the beginning of decision formation, effectively reducing the evidence-dependent neural modulation needed for choice commitment. Our results suggest that control of speed vs accuracy may be exerted through changes in decision-related neural activity itself rather than through changes in the threshold applied to such neural activity to terminate a decision.

KEYWORDS:

decision making; neuroscience; parietal cortex; rhesus macaque monkey; speed-accuracy tradeoff

PMID:
24867216
PMCID:
PMC4054775
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.02260
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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