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The Neurodynamic Decision Variable in Human Multi-Alternative Perceptual Choice

Kohl, C., Spieser, L., Forster, B. ORCID: 0000-0001-5126-7854 , Bestmann, S. & Yarrow, K. ORCID: 0000-0003-0666-2163 (2019). The Neurodynamic Decision Variable in Human Multi-Alternative Perceptual Choice. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 31(2), pp. 262-277. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_01347


The neural dynamics underpinning binary perceptual decisions and their transformation into actions are well studied, but real-world decisions typically offer more than two response alternatives. How does decision-related evidence accumulation dynamically influence multiple action representations in humans? The heightened conservatism required in multiple compared to binary choice scenarios suggests a mechanism which compensates for increased uncertainty when multiple choices are present by supressing baseline activity. Here, we tracked action representations using corticospinal excitability during four and two-choice perceptual decisions, and modelled them using a sequential sampling framework. We found that the predictions made by leaky competing accumulator models in order to accommodate multiple choices (i.e. reduced baseline activity to compensate increased uncertainty) were borne out by dynamic changes in human action representations. This suggests a direct and continuous influence of interacting evidence accumulators, each favouring a different decision alternative, on downstream corticospinal excitability during complex choice.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the author’s final version of an article published in Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.
Publisher Keywords: accumulator model, Hicks’ law, leaky competing accumulator, motor evoked potentials, multi-alternative decision-making
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Text - Accepted Version
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