Dobromir Rahnev, Georgia Institute of Technology
How do we decide? Uncovering the neural and computational mechanisms of perceptual decision making
Making good decisions and acting on them is the only way that humans can affect their lives for the better. However, despite the importance of decision making, we still have only a cursory understanding of its neural and computational mechanisms. I will present our efforts to uncover these mechanisms by focusing on three different components of perceptual decision making: learning, top-down modulations, and metacognitive evaluation. First, I will explore how the internal representation is improved via learning and show that improvements depend on reactivation of recently learned information in early sensory cortex. Second, I will describe a theory of how the prefrontal cortex is organized for the control of perceptual decision making and provide support for the theory using TMS. Finally, I will present a computational model of metacognitive evaluation that makes unique predictions and suggests specific computational roles for different PFC subregions. Overall, this line of research begins to reveal the neural and computational bases of perceptual decision making.