Neural Correlates of Trial-to-Trial Fluctuations in Response Caution

Research Area: Research Year: 2011
Type of Publication: Article
Authors: van Maanen, Leendert; Brown, Scott D.; Eichele, Tom; Wagenmakers, Eric Jan; Ho, Tiffany; Serences, John; Forstmann, Birte U.
Trial-to-trial variability in decision making can be caused by variability in information processing as well as by variability in response caution. In this paper, we study which neural components code for trial-to-trial adjustments in response caution using a new computational approach that quantifies response caution on a single-trial level. We found that the frontostriatal network updates the amount of response caution. In particular, when human participants were required to respond quickly, we found a positive correlation between trial-to-trial fluctuations in response caution and the hemodynamic response in the presupplementary motor area and dorsal anterior cingulate. In contrast, on trials that required a change from a speeded response mode to a more accurate response mode or vice versa, we found a positive correlation between response caution and hemodynamic response in the anterior cingulate proper. These results indicate that for each decision, response caution is set through corticobasal ganglia functioning, but that individual choices differ according to the mechanisms that trigger changes in response caution.
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