poly: Neural basis of utility estimation

From: Anders Sandberg <asa@nada.kth.se>
Date: Thu Feb 26 1998 - 07:30:06 PST

A fun paper I found:

   author = {P. Shizgal},
   title = {Neural basis of utility estimation},
   journal = {Curr Opin Neurobiol},
   volume = {7},
   number = {2},
   pages = {198--208},
   month = apr,
   year = {1997},
   keywords = {Animal Cognition/*physiology Neurons/*physiology
*Reinforcement (Psychology) Reward Support, Non-U.S. Gov't},
   abstract = {The allocation of behavior among competing activities
and goal objects depends on the payoffs they provide. Payoff is
evaluated among multiple dimensions, including intensity, rate, delay,
and kind. Recent findings suggest that by triggering a stream of
action potentials in myelinated, medial forebrain bundle axons,
rewarding electrical brain stimulation delivers a meaningful intensity
signal to the process that computes payoff.} }

Essentially it looks at how animals (mainly rats) choose to allocate
their activity. Among other things, it mentions an experiment where
rats do simple economic optimization: they have a fixed 'budget' of
responses, and can 'buy' different reinforcers such as sugar water,
salt or brain stimulation. The experiment shows that MFB stimulation
is an effective substitute for both water and food, while the rat
regards water and food as complements to each other. Very fun.

If one is to believe the review article, there might very well be a
fairly simply utility-calculation system underlying much of our
behavior, with a neural basis possible to explore.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!
asa@nada.kth.se                            http://www.nada.kth.se/~asa/
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y
Received on Thu Feb 26 15:32:34 1998

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