Perceptual decision making is a computationally demanding process that requires the brain to interpret incoming sensory information in the context of goals, expectations, preferences, and other factors. These integrative processes engage much of cortex but also require contributions from subcortical structures to affect behavior. Here we summarize recent evidence supporting specific computational roles of the basal ganglia in perceptual decision making. These roles probably share common mechanisms with the basal ganglia's other, more well-established functions in motor control, learning, and other aspects of cognition and thus can provide insights into the general roles of this important subcortical network in higher brain function.
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