Response repetition biases in human perceptual decisions are explained by activity decay in competitive attractor models

  1. James J Bonaiuto  Is a corresponding author
  2. Archy O de Berker
  3. Sven Bestmann
  1. University College London, United Kingdom

Abstract

Animals and humans have a tendency to repeat recent choices, a phenomenon known as choice hysteresis. The mechanism for this choice bias remains unclear. Using an established, biophysically informed model of a competitive attractor network for decision making, we found that decaying tail activity from the previous trial caused choice hysteresis, especially during difficult trials, and accurately predicted human perceptual choices. In the model, choice variability could be directionally altered through amplification or dampening of post-trial activity decay through simulated depolarizing or hyperpolarizing network stimulation. An analogous intervention using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) yielded a close match between model predictions and experimental results: net soma depolarizing currents increased choice hysteresis, while hyperpolarizing currents suppressed it. Residual activity in competitive attractor networks within dlPFC may thus give rise to biases in perceptual choices, which can be directionally controlled through non-invasive brain stimulation.

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Article and author information

Author details

  1. James J Bonaiuto

    Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, UCL Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    For correspondence
    j.bonaiuto@ucl.ac.uk
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-9165-4082
  2. Archy O de Berker

    Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, UCL Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-3460-7172
  3. Sven Bestmann

    Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, UCL Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Funding

H2020 European Research Council (260424)

  • James J Bonaiuto
  • Sven Bestmann

Medical Research Council

  • Archy O de Berker

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Human subjects: The study was performed in accordance with institutional guidelines for experiments with humans, adhered to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki and was approved by the UCL Research Ethics Committee (reference number 5833/001). Participants gave their informed written consent before participating.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Richard Ivry, University of California, Berkeley, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: August 4, 2016
  2. Accepted: December 19, 2016
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: December 22, 2016 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: January 18, 2017 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2016, Bonaiuto 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. James J Bonaiuto
  2. Archy O de Berker
  3. Sven Bestmann
(2016)
Response repetition biases in human perceptual decisions are explained by activity decay in competitive attractor models
eLife 5:e20047.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.20047

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