BEACON seminar - Beyond accumulating evidence: hidden knobs that shape value-based decisions

To understand value-based decision-making and its neural correlates, researchers have broken it down into component processes, like valuation and comparison. They built computational models to formalize these component processes and identify their neural signatures. Decision-making then would unfold via a process of accumulating value-based evidence until a threshold is reached and a choice is made. Using this approach, the field has identified consistent neural signatures of value and evidence accumulation. Today I will revisit these findings, showing that decision-making and its neural correlates are fundamentally shaped by people’s higher order decisions about decision-making. I will outline a framework for studying these higher-order decisions, their neural correlates, and how they shape choice dynamics. I will conversely call for caution to prematurely assume something is control when it might not be.