Understanding decision-making deficits in neurological conditions: insights from models of natural action selection

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2007 Sep 29;362(1485):1641-54. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2007.2058.


Models of natural action selection implicate fronto-striatal circuits in both motor and cognitive 'actions'. Dysfunction of these circuits leads to decision-making deficits in various populations. We review how computational models provide insights into the mechanistic basis for these deficits in Parkinson's patients and those with ventromedial frontal damage. We then consider implications of the models for understanding behaviour and cognition in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Incorporation of cortical noradrenaline function into the model improves action selection in noisy environments and accounts for response variability in ADHD. We close with more general clinical implications.

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology
  • Basal Ganglia / physiopathology*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology*