Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Memory, distraction and evidence accumulation in decision-making

Researchers have advanced a better understanding of decisions based on remembered information, termed memory-based decision-making. The work contributes important knowledge for further research and approaches to diseases such as Alzheimer's and schizophrenia.
Memory, distraction and evidence accumulation in decision-making
Employing a neurocognitive approach, the project ACCDECMEM (Tracking accumulation processes in memory decisions) focused on dynamics underlying the encoding, maintenance and retrieval of to-be-remembered information. The team used computational models of recognition memory, addressing such questions as how a memory decision comes into being and is influenced by past experiences.

The team first developed a new task paradigm to compare the neural correlates of decision-making based on both perceptual and memory information. Following, they recorded electroencephalogram data from a group of 30 healthy individuals along with data from a group of 15 patients with electrodes implanted for seizure monitoring in epilepsy. ACCDECMEM developed a novel classifier analysis method to track how differences between low and high amounts of evidence accumulation develop over time.

In another line of work, researchers investigated the relationship between a cognitivearchitecture (ACT-R) and brain oscillations, using this architecture to create a model of distraction (the main factor affecting decision-making). This model can be used to describe how between-trial thinking affects decision-making.

The work showed that some correlates could be found, mainly in frontal and temporal regions, and are mostly different for perceptual versus memory decisions. The results were presented at the Society for Mathematical Psychology in 2015.

A manuscript has been produced that shows that the centro-parietal potential is sensitive to evidence accumulation in both perceptual and memory tasks. Another ACCDECMEM paper describes how the interactions between brain regions, which manifest as patterns of oscillatory synchronisation, are involved in the decision-making process.

Project work on evidence accumulation and memory mechanisms and on cognitive architectures has resulted in several conference and journal publications. Results have also been presented in talks at national and international universities and conferences.

ACCDECMEM's innovative approach, creating computational models of distraction, has important implications for society, given that distraction is an ever-growing problem in today's hyperconnected world. The research team has been awarded a university grant to extend its work on relating the ACT-R cognitive architecture to brain oscillations in different tasks.

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Memory, distraction, evidence accumulation, decision-making, ACCDECMEM, memory decisions
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