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Neural signatures of controlled and automatic retrieval processes in memory-based decision-making


Khader, Patrick H; Pachur, Thorsten; Weber, Lilian A E; Jost, Kerstin (2016). Neural signatures of controlled and automatic retrieval processes in memory-based decision-making. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 28(1):69-83.

Abstract

Decision-making often requires retrieval from memory. Drawing on the neural ACT-R theory [Anderson, J. R., Fincham, J. M., Qin, Y., & Stocco, A. A central circuit of the mind. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12, 136-143, 2008] and other neural models of memory, we delineated the neural signatures of two fundamental retrieval aspects during decision-making: automatic and controlled activation of memory representations. To disentangle these processes, we combined a paradigm developed to examine neural correlates of selective and sequential memory retrieval in decision-making with a manipulation of associative fan (i.e., the decision options were associated with one, two, or three attributes). The results show that both the automatic activation of all attributes associated with a decision option and the controlled sequential retrieval of specific attributes can be traced in material-specific brain areas. Moreover, the two facets of memory retrieval were associated with distinct activation patterns within the frontoparietal network: The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was found to reflect increasing retrieval effort during both automatic and controlled activation of attributes. In contrast, the superior parietal cortex only responded to controlled retrieval, arguably reflecting the sequential updating of attribute information in working memory. This dissociation in activation pattern is consistent with ACT-R and constitutes an important step toward a neural model of the retrieval dynamics involved in memory-based decision-making.

Abstract

Decision-making often requires retrieval from memory. Drawing on the neural ACT-R theory [Anderson, J. R., Fincham, J. M., Qin, Y., & Stocco, A. A central circuit of the mind. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 12, 136-143, 2008] and other neural models of memory, we delineated the neural signatures of two fundamental retrieval aspects during decision-making: automatic and controlled activation of memory representations. To disentangle these processes, we combined a paradigm developed to examine neural correlates of selective and sequential memory retrieval in decision-making with a manipulation of associative fan (i.e., the decision options were associated with one, two, or three attributes). The results show that both the automatic activation of all attributes associated with a decision option and the controlled sequential retrieval of specific attributes can be traced in material-specific brain areas. Moreover, the two facets of memory retrieval were associated with distinct activation patterns within the frontoparietal network: The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was found to reflect increasing retrieval effort during both automatic and controlled activation of attributes. In contrast, the superior parietal cortex only responded to controlled retrieval, arguably reflecting the sequential updating of attribute information in working memory. This dissociation in activation pattern is consistent with ACT-R and constitutes an important step toward a neural model of the retrieval dynamics involved in memory-based decision-making.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Engineering
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:30 January 2016
Deposited On:03 May 2016 14:36
Last Modified:28 Apr 2017 04:06
Publisher:MIT Press
ISSN:0898-929X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_00882
Official URL:http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/jocn_a_00882#.Vyhu6Ue8Noy
PubMed ID:26401812

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