Decision-makers effortlessly balance the need for urgency against the need for caution. Theoretical and neurophysiological accounts have explained this tradeoff solely in terms of the quantity of evidence required to trigger a decision (the "threshold"). This explanation has also been used as a benchmark test for evaluating new models of decision making, but the explanation itself has not been carefully tested against data. We rigorously test the assumption that emphasizing decision speed versus decision accuracy selectively influences only decision thresholds. In data from a new brightness discrimination experiment we found that emphasizing decision speed over decision accuracy not only decreases the amount of evidence required for a decision but also decreases the quality of information being accumulated during the decision process. This result was consistent for 2 leading decision-making models and in a model-free test. We also found the same model-based results in archival data from a lexical decision task (reported by Wagenmakers, Ratcliff, Gomez, & McKoon, 2008) and new data from a recognition memory task. We discuss discuss implications for theoretical development and applications.
Neonatal exposure of rodents to an immune challenge alters a variety of behavioural and physiological parameters in adulthood. In particular, neonatal lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 0.05 mg/kg, i.p.) exposure produces robust increases in anxiety-like behaviour, accompanied by persistent changes in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning. Altered autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity is an important physiological contributor to the generation of anxiety. Here we examined the long term effects of neonatal LPS exposure on ANS function and the associated changes in neuroendocrine and behavioural indices. ANS function in Wistar rats, neonatally treated with LPS, was assessed via analysis of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the adrenal glands on postnatal days (PNDs) 50 and 85, and via plethysmographic assessment of adult respiratory rate in response to mild stress (acoustic and light stimuli). Expression of genes implicated in regulation of autonomic and endocrine activity in the relevant brain areas was also examined. Neonatal LPS exposure produced an increase in TH phosphorylation and activity at both PNDs 50 and 85. In adulthood, LPS-treated rats responded with increased respiratory rates to the lower intensities of stimuli, indicative of increased autonomic arousal. These changes were associated with increases in anxiety-like behaviours and HPA axis activity, alongside altered expression of the GABA-A receptor ?2 subunit, CRH receptor type 1, CRH binding protein, and glucocorticoid receptor mRNA levels in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and hypothalamus. The current findings suggest that in addition to the commonly reported alterations in HPA axis functioning, neonatal LPS challenge is associated with a persistent change in ANS activity, associated with, and potentially contributing to, the anxiety-like phenotype. The findings of this study reflect the importance of changes in the perinatal microbial environment on the ontogeny of physiological processes.
Cognitive models of the decision process provide greater insight into response time and accuracy than do standard ANOVA techniques. However, such models can be mathematically and computationally difficult to apply. We provide instructions and computer code for three methods for estimating the parameters of the linear ballistic accumulator (LBA), a new and computationally tractable model of decisions between two or more choices. These methods-a Microsoft Excel worksheet, scripts for the statistical program R, and code for implementation of the LBA into the Bayesian sampling software WinBUGS-vary in their flexibility and user accessibility. We also provide scripts in R that produce a graphical summary of the data and model predictions. In a simulation study, we explored the effect of sample size on parameter recovery for each method. The materials discussed in this article may be downloaded as a supplement from http://brm.psychonomic-journals.org/content/supplemental.
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