Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
February 2019, Vol. 31, No. 2, Pages 262-277
© 2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Neurodynamic Decision Variable in Human Multi-alternative Perceptual Choice
Article PDF (2.45 MB)
The neural dynamics underpinning binary perceptual decisions and their transformation into actions are well studied, but real-world decisions typically offer more than two response alternatives. How does decision-related evidence accumulation dynamically influence multiple action representations in humans? The heightened conservatism required in multiple compared with binary choice scenarios suggests a mechanism that compensates for increased uncertainty when multiple choices are present by suppressing baseline activity. Here, we tracked action representations using corticospinal excitability during four- and two-choice perceptual decisions and modeled them using a sequential sampling framework. We found that the predictions made by leaky competing accumulator models to accommodate multiple choices (i.e., reduced baseline activity to compensate increased uncertainty) were borne out by dynamic changes in human action representations. This suggests a direct and continuous influence of interacting evidence accumulators, each favoring a different decision alternative, on downstream corticospinal excitability during complex choice.