Integrating memories to guide decisions

Daphna Shohamy, Nathaniel D. Daw

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Adaptive decisions are guided by past experience. Yet, decisions are often made between alternatives that have not been directly experienced before, requiring the integration of memories across multiple past events. We review emerging findings supporting at least two seemingly distinct mechanisms for how the brain draws on memories in the service of choice. Prospective integration is triggered when a new decision is faced, allowing inferences to be drawn on the spot. A complementary retrospective mechanism integrates existing memories into a network of related experiences before a decision is actually faced. We discuss evidence supporting each of these mechanisms and the implications for understanding the role of memory in decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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