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Choice Bias: A Quirky Byproduct of Learning From Reward
published on 28 July 2014
The price of learning from rewarding choices may be just a touch of self-delusion, according to a new study in Neuron.
The research by Jeffrey Cockburn, a graduate student in the research group of senior author Michael Frank, links a fundamental problem in neuroscience called “credit assignment” — how the brain reinforces learning only in the exact circuits that caused the rewarding choice — to an oft-observed quirk of behavior called “choice bias” – we value the rewards we choose more than equivalent rewards we don’t choose. The researchers used computational modeling and behavioral and genetic experiments to discover evidence that choice bias is essentially a byproduct of credit assignment.