Lapses in perceptual decisions reflect exploration

  1. Sashank Pisupati
  2. Lital Chartarifsky-Lynn
  3. Anup Khanal
  4. Anne K Churchland  Is a corresponding author
  1. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, United States
  2. University of California, Los Angeles, United States

Abstract

Perceptual decision-makers often display a constant rate of errors independent of evidence strength. These 'lapses' are treated as a nuisance arising from noise tangential to the decision, e.g. inattention or motor errors. Here, we use a multisensory decision task in rats to demonstrate that these explanations cannot account for lapses' stimulus dependence. We propose a novel explanation: lapses reflect a strategic trade-off between exploiting known rewarding actions and exploring uncertain ones. We tested this model's predictions by selectively manipulating one action's reward magnitude or probability. As uniquely predicted by this model, changes were restricted to lapses associated with that action. Finally, we show that lapses are a powerful tool for assigning decision-related computations to neural structures based on disruption experiments (here, posterior striatum and secondary motor cortex). These results suggest that lapses reflect an integral component of decision-making and are informative about action values in normal and disrupted brain states.

Data availability

Data are publicly available: http://repository.cshl.edu/id/eprint/38957/

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Sashank Pisupati

    Department of Neuroscience, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-0923-0585
  2. Lital Chartarifsky-Lynn

    Department of Neuroscience, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Anup Khanal

    Department of Neuroscience, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Anne K Churchland

    Department of Neurobiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States
    For correspondence
    AChurchland@mednet.ucla.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-3205-3794

Funding

Army Research Office (W911NF-16-1-0368)

  • Sashank Pisupati
  • Lital Chartarifsky-Lynn
  • Anup Khanal
  • Anne K Churchland

National Institutes of Health (R01 EY022979)

  • Anne K Churchland

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

Ethics

Animal experimentation: All animal procedures and experiments were in accordance with the National Institutes of Healths Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals and were approved by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Animal Care and Use Committee (protocol 19-16-13-10-7).

Reviewing Editor

  1. Daeyeol Lee, Johns Hopkins University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: January 26, 2020
  2. Accepted: January 10, 2021
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: January 11, 2021 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: January 29, 2021 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2021, Pisupati 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. Sashank Pisupati
  2. Lital Chartarifsky-Lynn
  3. Anup Khanal
  4. Anne K Churchland
(2021)
Lapses in perceptual decisions reflect exploration
eLife 10:e55490.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.55490

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