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Serial, parallel and hierarchical decision making in primates

By Ariel Zylberberg, Jeannette A. M. Lorteije, Brian G. Ouellette, Chris I. de Zeeuw, Mariano Sigman and Pieter Roelfsema

Abstract

The study of decision-making has mainly focused on isolated decisions where choices are associated with motor actions. However, problem-solving often involves considering a hierarchy of sub-decisions. In a recent study (Lorteije et al. 2015), we reported behavioral and neuronal evidence for hierarchical decision making in a task with a small decision tree. We observed a first phase of parallel evidence integration for multiple sub-decisions, followed by a phase in which the overall strategy formed. It has been suggested that a 'flat' competition between the ultimate motor actions might also explain these results. A reanalysis of the data does not support the critical predictions of flat models. We also examined the time-course of decision making in other, related tasks and report conditions where evidence integration for successive decisions is decoupled, which excludes flat models. We conclude that the flexibility of decision-making implies that the strategies are genuinely hierarchica

Year: 2017
DOI identifier: 10.7554/elife.17331
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Provided by: NARCIS
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