Decoupling sensory from decisional choice biases in perceptual decision making

  1. Daniel Linares  Is a corresponding author
  2. David Aguilar-Lleyda
  3. Joan López-Moliner
  1. Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Spain
  2. Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
  3. Universitat de Barcelona, Spain

Abstract

The contribution of sensory and decisional processes to perceptual decision making is still unclear, even in simple perceptual tasks. When decision makers need to select an action from a set of balanced alternatives, any tendency to choose one alternative more often—choice bias—is consistent with a bias in the sensory evidence, but also with a preference to select that alternative independently of the sensory evidence. To decouple sensory from decisional biases, here we asked humans to perform a simple perceptual discrimination task with two symmetric alternatives under two different task instructions. The instructions varied the response mapping between perception and the category of the alternatives. We found that from 32 participants, 30 exhibited sensory biases and 15 decisional biases. The decisional biases were consistent with a criterion change in a simple signal detection theory model. Perceptual decision making, thus, even in simple scenarios, is affected by sensory and decisional choice biases.

Data availability

The data and the code to do the statistical analysis and create the figures is available at https://github.com/danilinares/2018LinaresAguilarLopezmoliner

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Daniel Linares

    Theoretical Neurobiology of Cortical Circuits, Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain
    For correspondence
    danilinares@gmail.com
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-7473-4184
  2. David Aguilar-Lleyda

    Centre d'Économie de la Sorbonne, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris, France
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-6963-4069
  3. Joan López-Moliner

    Department of Cognition, Development and Psychology of Education, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Funding

Departament de Salut of the Generalitat de Catalunya (SLT002/16/00338)

  • Daniel Linares

Catalan Government (2017SGR-48)

  • Joan López-Moliner

Fudación Alicia Koplowitz

  • Daniel Linares

Project AEI/Feder, UE (PSI2017-83493R)

  • Joan López-Moliner

Departament de Salut of the Generalitat de Catalunya (SLT006/17/00362)

  • Daniel Linares

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

Reviewing Editor

  1. Maik C Stüttgen, University Medical Center Mainz, Germany

Ethics

Human subjects: The study was approved by the ethical committee of the University of Barcelona (IRB00003099) and followed the requirements of the Helsinki convention. The participants, who did not know the hypothesis of the experiments, provided written consent to perform the experiments.

Version history

  1. Received: November 28, 2018
  2. Accepted: March 23, 2019
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: March 27, 2019 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: April 11, 2019 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2019, Linares 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.

Metrics

  • 3,122
    views
  • 457
    downloads
  • 21
    citations

Views, downloads and citations are aggregated across all versions of this paper published by eLife.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)

Cite this article (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

  1. Daniel Linares
  2. David Aguilar-Lleyda
  3. Joan López-Moliner
(2019)
Decoupling sensory from decisional choice biases in perceptual decision making
eLife 8:e43994.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.43994

Share this article

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.43994

Further reading

    1. Neuroscience
    Songyao Zhang, Tuo Zhang ... Tianming Liu
    Research Article

    Cortical folding is an important feature of primate brains that plays a crucial role in various cognitive and behavioral processes. Extensive research has revealed both similarities and differences in folding morphology and brain function among primates including macaque and human. The folding morphology is the basis of brain function, making cross-species studies on folding morphology important for understanding brain function and species evolution. However, prior studies on cross-species folding morphology mainly focused on partial regions of the cortex instead of the entire brain. Previously, our research defined a whole-brain landmark based on folding morphology: the gyral peak. It was found to exist stably across individuals and ages in both human and macaque brains. Shared and unique gyral peaks in human and macaque are identified in this study, and their similarities and differences in spatial distribution, anatomical morphology, and functional connectivity were also dicussed.

    1. Neuroscience
    Avani Koparkar, Timothy L Warren ... Lena Veit
    Research Article

    Complex skills like speech and dance are composed of ordered sequences of simpler elements, but the neuronal basis for the syntactic ordering of actions is poorly understood. Birdsong is a learned vocal behavior composed of syntactically ordered syllables, controlled in part by the songbird premotor nucleus HVC (proper name). Here, we test whether one of HVC’s recurrent inputs, mMAN (medial magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium), contributes to sequencing in adult male Bengalese finches (Lonchura striata domestica). Bengalese finch song includes several patterns: (1) chunks, comprising stereotyped syllable sequences; (2) branch points, where a given syllable can be followed probabilistically by multiple syllables; and (3) repeat phrases, where individual syllables are repeated variable numbers of times. We found that following bilateral lesions of mMAN, acoustic structure of syllables remained largely intact, but sequencing became more variable, as evidenced by ‘breaks’ in previously stereotyped chunks, increased uncertainty at branch points, and increased variability in repeat numbers. Our results show that mMAN contributes to the variable sequencing of vocal elements in Bengalese finch song and demonstrate the influence of recurrent projections to HVC. Furthermore, they highlight the utility of species with complex syntax in investigating neuronal control of ordered sequences.