Psychology and neurobiology of simple decisions

Trends Neurosci. 2004 Mar;27(3):161-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2004.01.006.


Patterns of neural firing linked to eye movement decisions show that behavioral decisions are predicted by the differential firing rates of cells coding selected and nonselected stimulus alternatives. These results can be interpreted using models developed in mathematical psychology to model behavioral decisions. Current models assume that decisions are made by accumulating noisy stimulus information until sufficient information for a response is obtained. Here, the models, and the techniques used to test them against response-time distribution and accuracy data, are described. Such models provide a quantitative link between the time-course of behavioral decisions and the growth of stimulus information in neural firing data.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Humans
  • Information Theory
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Reaction Time / physiology