Mar 29, 2020

The roles of online and offline replay in planning

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Nicholas RenzetteTimothy F. Kowalik


Animals and humans replay neural patterns encoding trajectories through their environment, both whilst they solve decision-making tasks and during rest. Both on-task and off-task replay are believed to contribute to flexible decision making, though how their relative contributions differ remains unclear. We investigated this question by using magnetoencephalography to study human subjects while they performed a decision-making task that was designed to reveal the decision algorithms employed. We characterized subjects in terms of how flexibly each adjusted their choices to changes in temporal, spatial and reward structure. The more flexible a subject, the more they replayed trajectories during task performance, and this replay was coupled with re-planning of the encoded trajectories. The less flexible a subject, the more they replayed previously and subsequently preferred trajectories during rest periods between task epochs. The data suggest that online and offline replay both participate in planning but support distinct decision strategies.

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