Decision-making behaviors: weighing ethology, complexity, and sensorimotor compatibility

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2018 Apr;49:42-50. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2017.11.001. Epub 2017 Nov 25.


Rodent decision-making research aims to uncover the neural circuitry underlying the ability to evaluate alternatives and select appropriate actions. Designing behavioral paradigms that provide a solid foundation to ask questions about decision-making computations and mechanisms is a difficult and often underestimated challenge. Here, we propose three dimensions on which we can consider rodent decision-making tasks: ethological validity, task complexity, and stimulus-response compatibility. We review recent research through this lens, and provide practical guidance for researchers in the decision-making field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Electronic Data Processing
  • Ethology* / methods
  • Ethology* / standards
  • Humans
  • Models, Animal