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Cognitive models aim to explain complex human behavior in terms of hypothesized mechanisms of the mind. These mechanisms can be formalized in terms of mathematical structures containing parameters that are theoretically meaningful. For example, in the case of perceptual decision making, model parameters might correspond to theoretical constructs like response bias, evidence quality, response caution, and the like. Formal cognitive models go beyond verbal models in that cognitive mechanisms are instantiated in terms of mathematics and they go beyond statistical models in that cognitive model parameters are psychologically interpretable. We explore three key elements used to formally evaluate cognitive models: parameter estimation, model prediction, and model selection. We compare and contrast traditional approaches with Bayesian statistical approaches to performing each of these three elements. Traditional approaches rely on an array of seemingly ad hoc techniques, whereas Bayesian statistical approaches rely on a single, principled, internally consistent system. We illustrate the Bayesian statistical approach to evaluating cognitive models using a running example of the Linear Ballistic Accumulator model of decision making (Brown SD, Heathcote A. The simplest complete model of choice response time: linear ballistic accumulation. Cogn Psychol 2008, 57:153-178). WIREs Cogn Sci 2018, 9:e1458. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1458 This article is categorized under: Neuroscience > Computation Psychology > Reasoning and Decision Making Psychology > Theory and Methods.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Visual stimuli with emotional content appearing in close temporal proximity either before or after a target stimulus can hinder conscious perceptual processing of the target via an emotional attentional blink (EAB). This occurs for targets that appear after the emotional stimulus (forward EAB) and for those appearing before the emotional stimulus (retroactive EAB). Additionally, the traditional attentional blink (AB) occurs because detection of any target hinders detection of a subsequent target. The present study investigated the relations between these different attentional processes. Rapid sequences of landscape images were presented to thirty-one male participants with occasional landscape targets (rotated images). For the forward EAB, emotional or neutral distractor images of people were presented before the target; for the retroactive EAB, such images were also targets and presented after the landscape target. In the latter case, this design allowed investigation of the AB as well. Erotic and gory images caused more EABs than neutral images, but there were no differential effects on the AB. This pattern is striking because while using different target categories (rotated landscapes, people) appears to have eliminated the AB, the retroactive EAB still occurred, offering additional evidence for the power of emotional stimuli over conscious attention.
We survey models of response inhibition having different degrees of mathematical, computational and neurobiological specificity and generality. The independent race model accounts for performance of the stop-signal or countermanding task in terms of a race between GO and STOP processes with stochastic finishing times. This model affords insights into neurophysiological mechanisms that are reviewed by other authors in this volume. The formal link between the abstract GO and STOP processes and instantiating neural processes is articulated through interactive race models consisting of stochastic accumulator GO and STOP units. This class of model provides quantitative accounts of countermanding performance and replicates the dynamics of neural activity producing that performance. The interactive race can be instantiated in a network of biophysically plausible spiking excitatory and inhibitory units. Other models seek to account for interactions between units in frontal cortex, basal ganglia and superior colliculus. The strengths, weaknesses and relationships of the different models will be considered. We will conclude with a brief survey of alternative modelling approaches and a summary of problems to be addressed including accounting for differences across effectors, species, individuals, task conditions and clinical deficits.This article is part of the themed issue 'Movement suppression: brain mechanisms for stopping and stillness'.
© 2017 The Author(s).
Frontal-basal ganglia circuitry dysfunction caused by Parkinson's disease impairs important executive cognitive processes, such as the ability to inhibit impulsive action tendencies. Subthalamic Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson's disease improves the reactive inhibition of impulsive actions that interfere with goal-directed behavior. An unresolved question is whether this effect depends on stimulation of a particular Subthalamic Nucleus subregion. The current study aimed to 1) replicate previous findings and additionally investigate the effect of chronic versus acute Subthalamic Nucleus stimulation on inhibitory control in Parkinson's disease patients off dopaminergic medication 2) test whether stimulating Subthalamic Nucleus subregions differentially modulate proactive response control and the proficiency of reactive inhibitory control. In the first experiment, twelve Parkinson's disease patients completed three sessions of the Simon task, Off Deep brain stimulation and medication, on acute Deep Brain Stimulation and on chronic Deep Brain Stimulation. Experiment 2 consisted of 11 Parkinson's disease patients with Subthalamic Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulation (off medication) who completed two testing sessions involving of a Simon task either with stimulation of the dorsal or the ventral contact in the Subthalamic Nucleus. Our findings show that Deep Brain Stimulation improves reactive inhibitory control, regardless of medication and regardless of whether it concerns chronic or acute Subthalamic Nucleus stimulation. More importantly, selective stimulation of dorsal and ventral subregions of the Subthalamic Nucleus indicates that especially the dorsal Subthalamic Nucleus circuitries are crucial for modulating the reactive inhibitory control of motor actions.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
We investigated the chronometry of neural processes in frontal eye fields of macaques performing double-step saccade visual search in which a conspicuous target changes location in the array on a random fraction of trials. Durations of computational processes producing a saccade to original and final target locations (GO1 and GO2, respectively) are derived from response times (RT) on different types of trials. In these data, GO2 tended to be faster than GO1, demonstrating that inhibition of the initial saccade did not delay production of the compensated saccade. Here, we measured the dynamics of visual, visuomovement, and movement neuron activity in relation to these processes by examining trials when neurons instantiated either process. First, we verified that saccades were initiated when the discharge rate of movement neurons reached a threshold that was invariant across RT and trial type. Second, the time when visual and visuomovement neurons selected the target and when movement neuron activity began to accumulate were not significantly different across trial type. Third, the interval from the beginning of accumulation to threshold of movement-related activity was significantly shorter when instantiating the GO2 relative to the GO1 process. Differences observed between monkeys are discussed. Fourth, random variation of RT was accounted for to some extent by random variation in both the onset and duration of selective activity of each neuron type but mostly by variation of movement neuron accumulation duration. These findings offer new insights into the sources of control of target selection and saccade production in dynamic environments.
Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society.
Several stimulus factors are important in multisensory integration, including the spatial and temporal relationships of the paired stimuli as well as their effectiveness. Changes in these factors have been shown to dramatically change the nature and magnitude of multisensory interactions. Typically, these factors are considered in isolation, although there is a growing appreciation for the fact that they are likely to be strongly interrelated. Here, we examined interactions between two of these factors - spatial location and effectiveness - in dictating performance in the localization of an audiovisual target. A psychophysical experiment was conducted in which participants reported the perceived location of visual flashes and auditory noise bursts presented alone and in combination. Stimuli were presented at four spatial locations relative to fixation (0°, 30°, 60°, 90°) and at two intensity levels (high, low). Multisensory combinations were always spatially coincident and of the matching intensity (high-high or low-low). In responding to visual stimuli alone, localization accuracy decreased and response times (RTs) increased as stimuli were presented at more eccentric locations. In responding to auditory stimuli, performance was poorest at the 30° and 60° locations. For both visual and auditory stimuli, accuracy was greater and RTs were faster for more intense stimuli. For responses to visual-auditory stimulus combinations, performance enhancements were found at locations in which the unisensory performance was lowest, results concordant with the concept of inverse effectiveness. RTs for these multisensory presentations frequently violated race-model predictions, implying integration of these inputs, and a significant location-by-intensity interaction was observed. Performance gains under multisensory conditions were larger as stimuli were positioned at more peripheral locations, and this increase was most pronounced for the low-intensity conditions. These results provide strong support that the effects of stimulus location and effectiveness on multisensory integration are interdependent, with both contributing to the overall effectiveness of the stimuli in driving the resultant multisensory response.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
In the real world, decision making processes must be able to integrate non-stationary information that changes systematically while the decision is in progress. Although theories of decision making have traditionally been applied to paradigms with stationary information, non-stationary stimuli are now of increasing theoretical interest. We use a random-dot motion paradigm along with cognitive modeling to investigate how the decision process is updated when a stimulus changes. Participants viewed a cloud of moving dots, where the motion switched directions midway through some trials, and were asked to determine the direction of motion. Behavioral results revealed a strong delay effect: after presentation of the initial motion direction there is a substantial time delay before the changed motion information is integrated into the decision process. To further investigate the underlying changes in the decision process, we developed a Piecewise Linear Ballistic Accumulator model (PLBA). The PLBA is efficient to simulate, enabling it to be fit to participant choice and response-time distribution data in a hierarchal modeling framework using a non-parametric approximate Bayesian algorithm. Consistent with behavioral results, PLBA fits confirmed the presence of a long delay between presentation and integration of new stimulus information, but did not support increased response caution in reaction to the change. We also found the decision process was not veridical, as symmetric stimulus change had an asymmetric effect on the rate of evidence accumulation. Thus, the perceptual decision process was slow to react to, and underestimated, new contrary motion information.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Humans can selectively attend to information in visual scenes. Learning from previous experiences plays a role in how visual attention is subsequently deployed. For example, visual search times are faster in areas that are statistically more likely to contain a target (Jiang and Swallow in Cognition, 126(3), 378-390, 2013). Here, we examined whether similar attentional biases can be created for different locations on complex objects as a function of their category, based on a history of these locations containing a target. Subjects performed a visual search task in the context of novel objects called Greebles. The target appeared in one half (e.g., top) of the Greebles 89 % of the time and in the other half (e.g., bottom) 11 % of the time. We found a reaction time advantage when the target was located in a "target-rich" region, even after target location probabilities were equated. This indicates that attentional biases can be associated not only with regions of space but also with specific object features, or at least with locations in an object-based frame of reference.
Converging evidence links individual differences in mesolimbic and mesocortical dopamine (DA) to variation in the tendency to choose immediate rewards ("Now") over larger, delayed rewards ("Later"), or "Now bias." However, to date, no study of healthy young adults has evaluated the relationship between Now bias and DA with positron emission tomography (PET). Sixteen healthy adults (ages 24-34 yr; 50% women) completed a delay-discounting task that quantified aspects of intertemporal reward choice, including Now bias and reward magnitude sensitivity. Participants also underwent PET scanning with 6-[(18)F]fluoro-l-m-tyrosine (FMT), a radiotracer that measures DA synthesis capacity. Lower putamen FMT signal predicted elevated Now bias, a more rapidly declining discount rate with increasing delay time, and reduced willingness to accept low-interest-rate delayed rewards. In contrast, lower FMT signal in the midbrain predicted greater sensitivity to increasing magnitude of the Later reward. These data demonstrate that intertemporal reward choice in healthy humans varies with region-specific measures of DA processing, with regionally distinct associations with sensitivity to delay and to reward magnitude.
Neuroimaging studies of recognition memory have identified distinct patterns of cortical activity associated with two sets of cognitive processes: Recollective processes supporting retrieval of information specifying a probe item's original source are associated with the posterior hippocampus, ventral posterior parietal cortex, and medial pFC. Familiarity processes supporting the correct identification of previously studied probes (in the absence of a recollective response) are associated with activity in anterior medial temporal lobe (MTL) structures including the perirhinal cortex and anterior hippocampus, in addition to lateral prefrontal and dorsal posterior parietal cortex. Here, we address an open question in the cognitive neuroscientific literature: To what extent are these same neurocognitive processes engaged during an internally directed memory search task like free recall? We recorded fMRI activity while participants performed a series of free recall and source recognition trials, and we used a combination of univariate and multivariate analysis techniques to compare neural activation profiles across the two tasks. Univariate analyses showed that posterior MTL regions were commonly associated with recollective processes during source recognition and with free recall responses. Prefrontal and posterior parietal regions were commonly associated with familiarity processes and free recall responses, whereas anterior MTL regions were only associated with familiarity processes during recognition. In contrast with the univariate results, free recall activity patterns characterized using multivariate pattern analysis did not reliably match the neural patterns associated with recollective processes. However, these free recall patterns did reliably match patterns associated with familiarity processes, supporting theories of memory in which common cognitive mechanisms support both item recognition and free recall.