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In our dynamic world, decisions about noisy stimuli can require temporal accumulation of evidence to identify steady signals, differentiation to detect unpredictable changes in those signals, or both. Normative models can account for learning in these environments but have not yet been applied to faster decision processes. We present a novel, normative formulation of adaptive learning models that forms decisions by acting as a leaky accumulator with non-absorbing bounds. These dynamics, derived for both discrete and continuous cases, depend on the expected rate of change of the statistics of the evidence and balance signal identification and change detection. We found that, for two different tasks, human subjects learned these expectations, albeit imperfectly, then used them to make decisions in accordance with the normative model. The results represent a unified, empirically supported account of decision-making in unpredictable environments that provides new insights into the expectation-driven dynamics of the underlying neural signals.
Copyright Glaze et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Glaze, C. M., Kable, J. W., & Gold, J. I. (2015). Normative Evidence Accumulation in Unpredictable Environments. Neuroscience, 4 http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.08825
Date Posted: 06 December 2017
This document has been peer reviewed.