A general recurrent state space framework for modeling neural dynamics during decision making

Jul 12, 2020

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An open question in systems and computational neuroscience is how neural circuits accumulate evidence towards a decision. Fitting models of decision-making theory to neural activity helps answer this question, but current approaches limit the number of these models that we can fit to neural data. Here we propose a general framework for modeling neural activity during decision-making. The framework includes the canonical drift-diffusion model and enables extensions such as multi-dimensional accumulators, variable and collapsing boundaries, and discrete jumps. Our framework is based on constraining the parameters of recurrent state space models, for which we introduce a scalable variational Laplace-EM inference algorithm. We applied the modeling approach to spiking responses recorded from monkey parietal cortex during two decision-making tasks. We found that a two-dimensional accumulator better captured the trial-averaged responses of a set of parietal neurons than a single accumulator model. Next, we identified a variable lower boundary in the responses of a parietal neuron during a random dot motion task.

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The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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