Is There Neural Evidence for an Evidence Accumulation Process in Memory Decisions?

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Models of evidence accumulation have been very successful at describing human decision making behavior. Recent years have also seen the first reports of neural correlates of this accumulation process. However, these studies have mostly focused on perceptual decision making tasks, ignoring the role of additional cognitive processes like memory retrieval that are crucial in real-world decisions. In this study, we tried to find a neural signature of evidence accumulation during a recognition memory task. To do this, we applied a method we have successfully used to localize evidence accumulation in scalp EEG during a perceptual decision making task. This time, however, we applied it to intracranial EEG recordings, which provide a much higher spatial resolution. We identified several brain areas where activity ramps up over time, but these neural patterns do not appear to be modulated by behavioral variables such as the amount of available evidence or response time. This casts doubt on the idea of evidence accumulation as a general decision-making mechanism underlying different types of decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number93
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Drift diffusion model
  • brain oscillations
  • ECoG

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