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* WikiCite / Zotero Entry
  • Title: Goal-Driven Cognition in the Brain: A Computational Framework
  • Author(s): O'Reilly, Randall C. and Hazy, Thomas E. and Mollick, Jessica and Mackie, Prescott and Herd, Seth
  • Journal: arXiv:1404.7591 [q-bio]
  • Date: 2014-04-30
  • URL: [1]

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OReillyHazyMollickEtAl14 O'Reilly, R. C., Hazy, T. E., Mollick, J., Mackie, P., and Herd, S. A. (submitted). Goal-Driven Cognition in the Brain: A Computational Framework. Preprint avail at: http://arxiv.org/abs/1404.7591 pdf icon.png OReillyHazyMollickEtAl14.pdf (Web)


Current theoretical and computational models of dopamine-based reinforcement learning are largely rooted in the classical behaviorist tradition, and envision the organism as a purely reactive recipient of rewards and punishments, with resulting behavior that essentially reflects the sum of this reinforcement history. This framework is missing some fundamental features of the affective nervous system, most importantly, the central role of goals in driving and organizing behavior in a teleological manner. Even when goal-directed behaviors are considered in current frameworks, they are typically conceived of as arising in reaction to the environment, rather than being in place from the start. We hypothesize that goal-driven cognition is primary, and organized into two discrete phases: goal selection and goal engaged, which each have a substantially different effective value function. This dichotomy can potentially explain a wide range of phenomena, playing a central role in many clinical disorders, such as depression, OCD, ADHD, and PTSD, and providing a sensible account of the detailed biology and function of the dopamine system and larger limbic system, including critical ventral and medial prefrontal cortex. Computationally, reasoning backward from active goals to action selection is more tractable than projecting alternative action choices forward to compute possible outcomes. An explicit computational model of these brain areas and their function in this goal-driven framework is described, as are numerous testable predictions from this framework.