Trial-history biases in evidence accumulation can give rise to apparent lapses in decision-making

Diksha Gupta, Brian DePasquale, Charles D. Kopec, Carlos D. Brody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Trial history biases and lapses are two of the most common suboptimalities observed during perceptual decision-making. These suboptimalities are routinely assumed to arise from distinct processes. However, previous work has suggested that they covary in their prevalence and that their proposed neural substrates overlap. Here we demonstrate that during decision-making, history biases and apparent lapses can both arise from a common cognitive process that is optimal under mistaken beliefs that the world is changing i.e. nonstationary. This corresponds to an accumulation-to-bound model with history-dependent updates to the initial state of the accumulator. We test our model’s predictions about the relative prevalence of history biases and lapses, and show that they are robustly borne out in two distinct decision-making datasets of male rats, including data from a novel reaction time task. Our model improves the ability to precisely predict decision-making dynamics within and across trials, by positing a process through which agents can generate quasi-stochastic choices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number662
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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