Technical Program

Paper Detail

Paper: PS-2A.21
Session: Poster Session 2A
Location: Symphony/Overture
Session Time: Friday, September 7, 17:15 - 19:15
Presentation Time:Friday, September 7, 17:15 - 19:15
Presentation: Poster
Paper Title: The neurocomputational mechanisms of human sequential decision making under uncertainty in a spatial search task
Manuscript:  Click here to view manuscript
Authors: Dirk Ostwald, Lilla Horvath, Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin, Germany
Abstract: Sequential decision making under uncertainty is a ubiquitous aspect of human behaviour. For example, when trying to locate the source of radioactive decontamination, one will typically rely on a gamma counter, which signals the direction of the highest radiation with some associated observation noise. Similarly, humans often have to navigate abstract representational spaces, such as career paths, financial investment schemes, or maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Across all these domains, in order to achieve a set goal, humans can only rely on cues that are inflicted with uncertainty and which provide only partial information about how to reach the goal in an efficient way. In the current project, we used a simulated spatial search task to study the cognitive-behavioural and neural underpinnings of such sequential decisions under uncertainty. By combining artificial agent models rooted in the theory of partially-observable Markov decision processes with behavioural experimentation and functional magnetic resonance imaging, we provide evidence for human decision strategies that share similarities with real-time dynamic programming and rely on the neural representation of task-specific belief states.