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Elife. 2018 Oct 10;7. pii: e36018. doi: 10.7554/eLife.36018.

Ongoing, rational calibration of reward-driven perceptual biases.

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Neuroscience Graduate Group, Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States.


Decision-making is often interpreted in terms of normative computations that maximize a particular reward function for stable, average behaviors. Aberrations from the reward-maximizing solutions, either across subjects or across different sessions for the same subject, are often interpreted as reflecting poor learning or physical limitations. Here we show that such aberrations may instead reflect the involvement of additional satisficing and heuristic principles. For an asymmetric-reward perceptual decision-making task, three monkeys produced adaptive biases in response to changes in reward asymmetries and perceptual sensitivity. Their choices and response times were consistent with a normative accumulate-to-bound process. However, their context-dependent adjustments to this process deviated slightly but systematically from the reward-maximizing solutions. These adjustments were instead consistent with a rational process to find satisficing solutions based on the gradient of each monkey's reward-rate function. These results suggest new dimensions for assessing the rational and idiosyncratic aspects of flexible decision-making.


drift diffusion; motion discrimination; neuroscience; non-human primate; perceptual decision; reward bias; rhesus macaque; saccade

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