Behavioral Neuroscience of Motivation

Volume 27 of the series Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences pp 313-333


The Computational Complexity of Valuation and Motivational Forces in Decision-Making Processes

  • A. David RedishAffiliated withDepartment of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota Email author 
  • , Nathan W. SchultheissAffiliated withDepartment of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota
  • , Evan C. CarterAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota

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The concept of value is fundamental to most theories of motivation and decision making. However, value has to be measured experimentally. Different methods of measuring value produce incompatible valuation hierarchies. Taking the agent’s perspective (rather than the experimenter’s), we interpret the different valuation measurement methods as accessing different decision-making systems and show how these different systems depend on different information processing algorithms. This identifies the translation from these multiple decision-making systems into a single action taken by a given agent as one of the most important open questions in decision making today. We conclude by looking at how these different valuation measures accessing different decision-making systems can be used to understand and treat decision dysfunction such as in addiction.


Neuroeconomonics Valuation Multiple Decision Theory Decision-Making