Contextual modulation of behavioral choice

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2011 Aug;21(4):520-6. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2011.05.003. Epub 2011 May 31.


We review the influence of context on behavioral choice. Context can refer to external (environmental) factors such as the season or presence of predators and it can also refer to the internal or behavioral state of an animal. Usually, animals make decisions in the midst of other ongoing behaviors. We discuss recent findings on the impact of both types of contexts, focusing on how context gets encoded at the intersection between the sensory and motor systems, emphasizing the role of neuromodulators. We also review recent technological advances that have made feasible the exploration of neural correlates of decision making in freely moving, behaving animals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Environment
  • Humans
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Sensation / physiology*
  • Social Behavior