Stochastic models of evidence accumulation in changing environments Journal Article uri icon



  • Organisms and ecological groups accumulate evidence to make decisions. Classic experiments and theoretical studies have explored this process when the correct choice is fixed during each trial. However, the natural world constantly changes. Using sequential analysis we derive a tractable model of evidence accumulation when the correct option changes in time. Our analysis shows that ideal observers discount prior evidence at a rate determined by the volatility of the environment, and that the dynamics of evidence accumulation is governed by the information gained over an average environmental epoch. A plausible neural implementation of an optimal observer in a changing environment shows that, in contrast to previous models, neural populations representing alternate choices are coupled through excitation.

publication date

  • May 16, 2015

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • November 14, 2020 10:25 AM

Full Author List

  • Veliz-Cuba A; Kilpatrick ZP; Josic K

author count

  • 3

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