DOI: 10.1101/506790Dec 27, 2018Paper

Influence of expected reward on perceptual decision making

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Mohsen RakhshanAlireza Soltani


Perceptual decision making is influenced by reward expected from alternative options or actions, but the underlying neural mechanisms are currently unknown. More specifically, it is debated whether reward effects are mediated through changes in sensory processing and/or later stages of decision making. To address this question, we conducted two experiments in which human subjects made saccades to what they perceived to be the first or second of two visually identical but asynchronously presented targets, while we manipulated expected reward from correct and incorrect responses on each trial. We found that unequal reward caused similar shifts in target selection (reward bias) between the two experiments. Moreover, observed reward biases were independent of the individual's sensitivity to sensory signals. These findings suggest that the observed reward effects were determined heuristically via modulation of decision-making processes instead of sensory processing and thus, are more compatible with response bias rather than perceptual bias. To further explain our findings and uncover plausible neural mechanisms, we simulated our experiments with a cortical network model and tested alternative mechanisms for how reward could exert i...Continue Reading

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