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Identifying Model-Based and Model-Free Patterns in Behavior on Multi-Step Tasks

By Kevin J. Miller, Carlos Brody, Matthew M. Botvinick

Posted 23 Dec 2016
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/096339

Recent years have seen a surge of research into the neuroscience of planning. Much of this work has taken advantage of a two-step sequential decision task developed by Daw et al. (2011), which gives the ability to diagnose whether or not subjects' behavior is the result of planning. Here, we present simulations which suggest that the techniques most commonly used to analyze data from this task may be confounded in important ways. We introduce a new analysis technique, which suffers from fewer of these issues. This technique also presents a richer view of behavior, making it useful for characterizing patterns in behavior in a theory-neutral manner. This allows it to provide an important check on the assumptions of more theory-driven analysis such as agent-based model-fitting.

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