Behavioral and Neural Variability Related to Stochastic Choices during a Mixed-Strategy Game

Daeyeol Lee and Hyojung Seo

in The Dynamic Brain

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780195393798
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897049 | DOI:
Behavioral and Neural Variability Related to Stochastic Choices during a Mixed-Strategy Game

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Neuroscience


Show Summary Details


Behavioral performance of humans and other animals and the neural activity related to various behaviors commonly display substantial variability, but the relationship between these two different types of variability remains poorly understood. The dynamics of choice behaviors during a computer-simulated competitive game were studied and the chapter characterizes the variability in the activity of individual neurons recorded in the parietal, cingulate, and prefrontal areas of the primate cortex. It was found that the monkeys approached the optimal strategy during the competitive game using a reinforcement learning algorithm. In addition, the activity in multiple cortical areas commonly modulated their activity according to the variables necessary to update the animal’s decision-making strategies using the reinforcement learning algorithm. In particular, neurons in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and lateral intraparietal area encoded signals related to the value functions of the two alternative targets in addition to the animal’s choice and outcome history. Nevertheless, the residual variability in the activity of neurons in the cortical areas tested in this study that could not be accounted for by task-related variables was still substantial and higher than expected from additive Poisson noise. Moreover, the amount of this residual variability was particularly high for the anterior cingulate cortex. The functional significance of this regional difference in the variability of neural activity remains largely unknown.

Keywords: poisson process; Fano factor; game theory; reinforcement learning; prefrontal cortex; posterior parietal cortex; decision making; cingulate cortex; neuroeconomics

Chapter.  7954 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.