Thinking the right thoughts
This is a hybrid event.
In realistic choice tasks, especially sequential ones like mazes, actions are separated from their consequences by many steps of space and time. A central computational problem in decision making — which arises in various guises such as credit assignment and planning — is spanning these gaps to work out the long-term consequences of candidate actions. I review recent experimental and theoretical work aimed at understanding the mechanisms by which the brain solves this problem. First, I review a new study that monitors neural signatures of reward expectancy in rodents to monitor how the brain propagates information about individual experiences with outcomes to distal choicepoints. Second, I report ongoing theoretical work that aims to clarify how the brain can judiciously manage and select among such computations so as to achieve effective decisions while minimizing computational costs. This offers a formal, resource-rational perspective on a range of issues such as habits and slips of action in the healthy brain, but also may explain dysfunctions such as compulsion, rumination, and avoidance.

To join the talk on the day

Meeting ID: 837 2199 9727
Passcode: 248659
Date: 20 February 2023, 14:00 (Monday, 6th week, Hilary 2023)
Venue: New Radcliffe House, Walton Street OX2 6NW
Venue Details: Seminar Room, New Radcliffe House (2nd Floor), Department of Experimental Psychology, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG
Speaker: Professor Nathaniel Daw (Princeton University)
Organising department: Department of Experimental Psychology
Organiser contact email address:
Host: Dr Ali Mahmoodi (University of Oxford)
Part of: Departmental Seminar Series (Experimental Psychology)
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Members of the University only
Editor: Regula Dent