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Human Decision Making Based on Variations in Internal Noise: An EEG Study

Amitay, S; Guiraud, J; Sohoglu, E; Zobay, O; Edmonds, BA; Zhang, Y-X; Moore, DR; (2013) Human Decision Making Based on Variations in Internal Noise: An EEG Study. PLoS ONE , 8 (7) , Article e68928. 10.1371/journal.pone.0068928. Green open access

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Abstract

Perceptual decision making is prone to errors, especially near threshold. Physiological, behavioural and modeling studies suggest this is due to the intrinsic or ‘internal’ noise in neural systems, which derives from a mixture of bottom-up and top-down sources. We show here that internal noise can form the basis of perceptual decision making when the external signal lacks the required information for the decision. We recorded electroencephalographic (EEG) activity in listeners attempting to discriminate between identical tones. Since the acoustic signal was constant, bottom-up and top-down influences were under experimental control. We found that early cortical responses to the identical stimuli varied in global field power and topography according to the perceptual decision made, and activity preceding stimulus presentation could predict both later activity and behavioural decision. Our results suggest that activity variations induced by internal noise of both sensory and cognitive origin are sufficient to drive discrimination judgments.

Type: Article
Title: Human Decision Making Based on Variations in Internal Noise: An EEG Study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068928
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0068928
Language: English
Additional information: © 2013 Amitay et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1398945
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