Neural encoding of task-dependent errors during adaptive learning

  1. Chang-Hao Kao  Is a corresponding author
  2. Sangil Lee
  3. Joshua I Gold
  4. Joseph W Kable  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Pennsylvania, United States

Abstract

Effective learning requires using errors in a task-dependent manner, for example adjusting to errors that result from unpredicted environmental changes but ignoring errors that result from environmental stochasticity. Where and how the brain represents errors in a task-dependent manner and uses them to guide behavior are not well understood. We imaged the brains of human participants performing a predictive-inference task with two conditions that had different sources of errors. Their performance was sensitive to this difference, including more choice switches after fundamental changes versus stochastic fluctuations in reward contingencies. Using multi-voxel pattern classification, we identified task-dependent representations of error magnitude and past errors in posterior parietal cortex. These representations were distinct from representations of the resulting behavioral adjustments in dorsomedial frontal, anterior cingulate, and orbitofrontal cortex. The results provide new insights into how the human brain represents errors in a task-dependent manner and guides subsequent adaptive behavior.

Data availability

The fMRI dataset has been made available at OpenNeuro under the accession ds003170. Codes and behavioral dataset are available at Github (https://github.com/changhaokao/mvpa_changepoint_fmri).

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Chang-Hao Kao

    Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States
    For correspondence
    chakao@sas.upenn.edu
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-2928-302X
  2. Sangil Lee

    Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-4443-9926
  3. Joshua I Gold

    Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States
    Competing interests
    Joshua I Gold, Senior editor, eLife.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-6018-0483
  4. Joseph W Kable

    Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States
    For correspondence
    kable@psych.upenn.edu
    Competing interests
    No competing interests declared.

Funding

National Institute of Mental Health (R01-MH098899)

  • Joshua I Gold
  • Joseph W Kable

National Science Foundation (1533623)

  • Joshua I Gold
  • Joseph W Kable

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

Ethics

Human subjects: All procedures were approved by University of Pennsylvania Internal Review Board. All participants provided informed consent before the experiment. (IRB Protocol # 816727).

Reviewing Editor

  1. Thorsten Kahnt, Northwestern University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: May 12, 2020
  2. Accepted: October 15, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: October 19, 2020 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: October 23, 2020 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2020, Kao 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. Chang-Hao Kao
  2. Sangil Lee
  3. Joshua I Gold
  4. Joseph W Kable
(2020)
Neural encoding of task-dependent errors during adaptive learning
eLife 9:e58809.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.58809

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