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Neural Computation

February 2010, Vol. 22, No. 2, Pages 539-580
(doi: 10.1162/neco.2009.01-09-938)
© 2009 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
On the Effects of Signal Acuity in a Multi-Alternative Model of Decision Making
Article PDF (528.43 KB)

We consider the effects of signal sharpness or acuity on the performance of neural models of decision making. In these models, a vector of signals is presented, and the subject must decide which of the elements of the vector is the largest. McMillen and Holmes (2006) derived asymptotically optimal tests under the assumption that the elements of the signal vector were all equal except one. In this letter, we consider the case of signals spread around a peak. The acuity is a measure of how strongly peaked the signal is. We find that the optimal test is one in which the detectors are passed through an output layer that encodes knowledge of the possible shapes of the incoming signals. The incorporation of such an output layer can lead to significant improvements in decision-making tasks.