Encyclopedia of Computational Neuroscience

2015 Edition
| Editors: Dieter Jaeger, Ranu Jung

Decision-Making, Models

  • Paul MillerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6675-8_312


Models of decision making attempt to describe, using stochastic differential equations which represent either neural activity or more abstract psychological variables, the dynamical process that produces a commitment to a single action/outcome as a result of incoming evidence that can be ambiguous as to the action it supports.

Detailed Description


Decision making can be separated into four processes (Doya 2008):
  1. 1.

    Acquisition of sensory information to determine the state of the environment and the organism within it

  2. 2.

    Evaluation of potential actions (options) in terms of the cost and benefit to the organism given its belief about the current state

  3. 3.

    Selection of an action based on, ideally, an optimal trade-off between the costs and benefits

  4. 4.

    Use of the outcome of the action to update the costs and benefits associated with it


Models of the dynamics of decision making have focused on perceptual decisions with only two possible responses available. The...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology and Brandeis UniversityWalthamUSA
  2. 2.Volen National Center for Complex SystemsWalthamUSA