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Speed-accuracy tradeoff turns up gain in the brain

Research helps to resolve central issue in understanding decision-making

Date:
June 4, 2018
Source:
Society for Neuroscience
Summary:
Widespread changes in neural activity enable people to quickly make a decision by 'turning up the gain in the brain,' suggests a recent human study. The findings help to resolve a central issue in our understanding of decision-making.
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Widespread changes in neural activity enable people to quickly make a decision by "turning up the gain in the brain," suggests a human study published in eNeuro. The findings help to resolve a central issue in our understanding of decision-making.

The ability to optimize the balance between careful and hasty decision-making is critical for survival. However, a compelling explanation for how the brain strikes such a balance, known as speed-accuracy tradeoff (SAT), is lacking.

Carmen Kohl and colleagues reconcile contradictory accounts of the SAT by providing evidence for a model of speeded decision-making that explains both behavioral and neural data. For this study, human participants indicated the direction of moving dots on a screen either as fast or as accurately as possible using a "pinch" or "grasp" response while their brain and muscle activity was recorded.

The researchers found that their results were best explained by a model in which the brain adjusts the signal-to-noise ratio of neural activity in order to tailor the balance between speed and accuracy to the decision-making context.


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Materials provided by Society for Neuroscience. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Laure Spieser, Carmen Kohl, Bettina Forster, Sven Bestmann, Kielan Yarrow. Neurodynamic Evidence Supports a Forced-Excursion Model of Decision-Making under Speed/Accuracy Instructions. eneuro, 2018; ENEURO.0159-18.2018 DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0159-18.2018

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Society for Neuroscience. "Speed-accuracy tradeoff turns up gain in the brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180604131711.htm>.
Society for Neuroscience. (2018, June 4). Speed-accuracy tradeoff turns up gain in the brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180604131711.htm
Society for Neuroscience. "Speed-accuracy tradeoff turns up gain in the brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180604131711.htm (accessed March 4, 2024).

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