Simple Plans or Sophisticated Habits? State, Transition and Learning Interactions in the Two-step Task.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Thomas AkamPeter Dayan


The recently developed ‘two-step’ behavioural task promises to differentiate model-based or goal-directed from model-free or habitual reinforcement learning, while generating neurophysiologically-friendly decision datasets with parametric variation of decision variables. These desirable features have prompted widespread adoption of the task. However, the signatures of model-based control can be elusive – here, we investigate model-free learning methods that, depending on the analysis strategy, can masquerade as being model-based. We first show that unadorned model-free reinforcement learning can induce correlations between action values at the start of the trial and the subsequent trial events in such a way that analysis based on comparing successive trials can lead to erroneous conclusions. We also suggest a correction to the analysis that can alleviate this problem. We then consider model-free reinforcement learning strategies based on different state representations from those envisioned by the experimenter, which generate behaviour that appears model-based under these, and also more sophisticated, analyses. The existence of such strategies is of particular relevance to the design and interpretation of animal studies using t...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Neurological System Process
Psychological Reinforcement
Drug Interactions
Clinical Trials

Related Feeds

BioRxiv & MedRxiv Preprints

BioRxiv and MedRxiv are the preprint servers for biology and health sciences respectively, operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Here are the latest preprint articles (which are not peer-reviewed) from BioRxiv and MedRxiv.