laboratoire de physique statistique
 
 
laboratoire de physique statistique

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BRAIN RESEARCH 


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P U B L I C A T I O N S



 
2012
Perception of categories: From coding efficiency to reaction times - Bonnasse-Gahot, Laurent and Nadal, Jean-Pierre
BRAIN RESEARCH 143447-61 (2012)

Abstract : Reaction-times in perceptual tasks are the subject of many experimental and theoretical studies. With the neural decision making process as main focus, most of these works concern discrete (typically binary) choice tasks, implying the identification of the stimulus as an exemplar of a category. Here we address issues specific to the perception of categories (e.g. vowels, familiar faces,...), making a clear distinction between identifying a category (an element of a discrete set) and estimating a continuous parameter (such as a direction). We exhibit a link between optimal Bayesian decoding and coding efficiency, the latter being measured by the mutual information between the discrete category set and the neural activity. We characterize the properties of the best estimator of the likelihood of the category, when this estimator takes its inputs from a large population of stimulus-specific coding cells. Adopting the diffusion-to-bound approach to model the decisional process, this allows to relate analytically the bias and variance of the diffusion process underlying decision making to macroscopic quantities that are behaviorally measurable. A major consequence is the existence of a quantitative link between reaction times and discrimination accuracy. The resulting analytical expression of mean reaction times during an identification task accounts for empirical facts, both qualitatively (e.g. more time is needed to identify a category from a stimulus at the boundary compared to a stimulus lying within a category), and quantitatively (working on published experimental data on phoneme identification tasks). (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.