BIRS Workshop Lecture Videos

Banff International Research Station Logo

BIRS Workshop Lecture Videos

The neural control of urgency and vigor for maximizing reward rates Cisek, Paul


Animals are motivated to act so as to maximize their subjective reward rate, which depends on factors such as the subjective value and probability of a favorable outcome, the metabolic cost of action, as well as temporal variables such as deliberation and handling time. Iâll show mathematically that in a wide range of conditions, maximizing reward rates can be accomplished by having a criterion of decision accuracy that decreases over time as one deliberates. Iâll then present data from neural recordings in monkeys, suggesting that this is implemented in the brain through an âurgency signalâ from the basal ganglia, which causes neural activity in sensorimotor decision circuits to build-up over time, pushing the system to decide while also influencing the vigor of the chosen action. Finally, Iâll review evidence suggesting how individual settings of urgency may explain traits such as impulsivity as well as motivation-related symptoms of clinical disorders such as depression and Parkinsonâs disease.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International