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Paper Detail

Paper: PS-2A.62
Session: Poster Session 2A
Location: H Lichthof
Session Time: Sunday, September 15, 17:15 - 20:15
Presentation Time:Sunday, September 15, 17:15 - 20:15
Presentation: Poster
Publication: 2019 Conference on Cognitive Computational Neuroscience, 13-16 September 2019, Berlin, Germany
Paper Title: GABAergic Competition Boosts the Irrationality of Protracted Decisions
Manuscript:  Click here to view manuscript
License: Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Authors: Konstantinos Tsetsos, Thomas Pfeffer, Christoffer Gahnström, Tobias H Donner, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany
Abstract: Humans often violate the principles of decision rationality. For instance, they may choose fish over steak, steak over salad, but salad over fish, disclosing thus inconsistent preferences. Such choice inconsistencies are well-established, but their mechanistic basis remains elusive. We have previously attributed choice inconsistencies to a selective integration process: In a protracted decision-making task (trials of 5-10s) requiring the accumulation of two simultaneously presented streams of payoff samples, momentarily higher payoffs were accumulated with stronger weight. Here, we hypothesized that this selective integration process may be realized via competitive interactions between incoming payoffs, mediated via GABAergic inhibition in cortical circuits. We tested this hypothesis in humans through a combination of the task above with magnetoencephalography (MEG) and pharmacological boost of GABAergic transmission (lorazepam). The drug amplified MEG markers of cortical inhibition as well as behavioral signatures of selective integration. Critically, the drug did not change the time-constant of payoffs accumulation. We conclude that GABAergic cortical inhibition mediates selective integration and decision irrationality. In the protracted decisions we examined, GABAergic inhibition exerts its effect primarily on the input rather than the accumulation stage, distinct from current neural circuit models of perceptual evidence accumulation.