Poster A28, Saturday, March 24, 1:30–3:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
The role of action, choice, and predictive cues in human reinforcement learning
Cameron D. Hassall1, Greg Hajcak2, Olave E. Krigolson1; 1University of Victoria, 2Florida State University
Converging evidence suggests that reinforcement learning signals exist within the human brain. For example, the reward positivity – a feedback-sensitive component of the event-related potential (ERP) – is thought to index a reinforcement learning (RL) prediction error. According to RL theory, prediction errors are used to update values associated with actions and/or predictive cues. One might therefore expect the reward positivity to diminish or disappear in the absence of action, however evidence for this claim is conflicting. To investigate the impact of choice and action on the reward positivity, we systematically altered a two-armed bandit task such that trials involved an action and a choice, an action (but no choice), or no action. Novelly, we also tested a version of the task in which the preceding choice stimuli (the bandits) were absent. We observed a reward positivity in the standard version of the task only, suggesting that choice, action, and predictive cues may all be necessary to produce this learning signal.
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Monitoring & inhibitory control