Time representation in reinforcement learning models of the basal ganglia

Samuel J. Gershman, Ahmed A. Moustafa, Elliot A. Ludvig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)
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Reinforcement learning (RL) models have been influential in understanding many aspects of basal ganglia function, from reward prediction to action selection. Time plays an important role in these models, but there is still no theoretical consensus about what kind of time representation is used by the basal ganglia. We review several theoretical accounts and their supporting evidence. We then discuss the relationship between RL models and the timing mechanisms that have been attributed to the basal ganglia. We hypothesize that a single computational system may underlie both RL and interval timing-the perception of duration in the range of seconds to hours. This hypothesis, which extends earlier models by incorporating a time-sensitive action selection mechanism, may have important implications for understanding disorders like Parkinson's disease in which both decision making and timing are impaired.

Original languageEnglish
Article number194
JournalFrontiers in Computational Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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