The quest to understand the relationship between neural activity and behavior has been ongoing for well over a hundred years. Although research based on the stimulus-and-response approach to behavior, advocated by behaviorists, flourished during the last century, this view does not, by design, account for unobservable variables (e.g., mental states). Putting aside this approach, modern cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, neuroeconomics, and behavioral economics have sought to explain this connection computationally. One major hurdle lies in the fact that we lack even a simple model of cognitive function. This chapter sketches an application that connects neuromodulator function to decision making and the valuation that underlies it. The nature of this hypothesized connection offers a fruitful platform to understand some of the informational aspects of dopamine function in the brain and how it exposes many different ways of understanding motivated choice.
Keywords: Strüngmann Forum Report; reinforcement learning; prediction learning; temporal difference; reward prediction error; dopamine; octopamine; hypervaluation disease
Chapter. 4686 words.
Full text: subscription required