Sources of noise during accumulation of evidence in unrestrained and voluntarily head-restrained rats

  1. Ben B Scott
  2. Christine M Constantinople
  3. Jeffrey C Erlich
  4. David W Tank
  5. Carlos D Brody  Is a corresponding author
  1. Princeton University, United States
  2. New York University Shanghai, China

Abstract

Decision-making behavior is often characterized by substantial variability, but its source remains unclear. We developed a visual accumulation of evidence task designed to quantify sources of noise and to be performed during voluntary head restraint, enabling cellular resolution imaging in future studies. Rats accumulated discrete numbers of flashes presented to the left and right visual hemifields and indicated the side that had the greater number of flashes. Using a signal-detection theory-based model, we found that the standard deviation in their internal estimate of flash number scaled linearly with the number of flashes. This indicates a major source of noise that, surprisingly, is not consistent with the widely used 'drift-diffusion modeling' (DDM) approach but is instead closely related to proposed models of numerical cognition and counting. We speculate that this form of noise could be important in accumulation of evidence tasks generally.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Ben B Scott

    Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, New Jersey, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Christine M Constantinople

    Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, New Jersey, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Jeffrey C Erlich

    NYU-ECNU Institute of Brain and Cognitive Science, New York University Shanghai, Shanghai, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. David W Tank

    Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, New Jersey, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Carlos D Brody

    Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, New Jersey, United States
    For correspondence
    brody@princeton.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Ethics

Animal experimentation: Animal use procedures were approved by the Princeton University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) (Protocol #1837 and #1853). These procedures were carried out in accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Naoshige Uchida, Harvard University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: September 2, 2015
  2. Accepted: December 15, 2015
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: December 17, 2015 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: February 1, 2016 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2015, Scott et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Ben B Scott
  2. Christine M Constantinople
  3. Jeffrey C Erlich
  4. David W Tank
  5. Carlos D Brody
(2015)
Sources of noise during accumulation of evidence in unrestrained and voluntarily head-restrained rats
eLife 4:e11308.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.11308
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