Technical Program

Paper Detail

Paper: PS-2A.34
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: Arbitrating between planning and habit in naturalistic environments
Manuscript:  Click here to view manuscript
License: Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Authors: Ugurcan Mugan, Malcolm A. MacIver, Northwestern University, United States
Abstract: Research into the neural basis of decision making suggests that animals engage in habit- or plan-based action selection. The existence of these two modes of action selection raises an additional problem: how should animals arbitrate between them to efficiently allocate their time and computational resources? Here, we use a naturalistic task, spatial planning of a prey evading a predator in environments with varying complexity, to investigate how the arbitration between these decision making systems should be done. We identify a key signature of complex environments where planning becomes imperative---transitions between poorly and highly connected regions. We suggest an efficient approach, based on environmental connectivity, that switches between plan- and habit-based control during a task. This approach provides a unifying account of experimental data that shows vicarious trial and error at high cost choice points, as well as increased theta coherence between the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex at transitions from closed to open regions---both situations where there is a transition in spatial connectivity.