Modeling the Evolution of Beliefs Using an Attentional Focus Mechanism
AuthorMarkovic, D; Glaescher, J; Bossaerts, P; O'Doherty, J; Kiebel, SJ
Source TitlePLoS Computational Biology
PublisherPUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
University of Melbourne Author/sBossaerts, Peter
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsMarkovic, D., Glaescher, J., Bossaerts, P., O'Doherty, J. & Kiebel, S. J. (2015). Modeling the Evolution of Beliefs Using an Attentional Focus Mechanism. PLOS COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY, 11 (10), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004558.
Access StatusAccess this item via the Open Access location
Open Access URLPublished version
For making decisions in everyday life we often have first to infer the set of environmental features that are relevant for the current task. Here we investigated the computational mechanisms underlying the evolution of beliefs about the relevance of environmental features in a dynamical and noisy environment. For this purpose we designed a probabilistic Wisconsin card sorting task (WCST) with belief solicitation, in which subjects were presented with stimuli composed of multiple visual features. At each moment in time a particular feature was relevant for obtaining reward, and participants had to infer which feature was relevant and report their beliefs accordingly. To test the hypothesis that attentional focus modulates the belief update process, we derived and fitted several probabilistic and non-probabilistic behavioral models, which either incorporate a dynamical model of attentional focus, in the form of a hierarchical winner-take-all neuronal network, or a diffusive model, without attention-like features. We used Bayesian model selection to identify the most likely generative model of subjects' behavior and found that attention-like features in the behavioral model are essential for explaining subjects' responses. Furthermore, we demonstrate a method for integrating both connectionist and Bayesian models of decision making within a single framework that allowed us to infer hidden belief processes of human subjects.
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