Hedging Your Bets by Learning Reward Correlations in the Human Brain
Klaus Wunderlich, Mkael Symmonds, Peter Bossaerts, Raymond J Dolan
NEURON | CELL PRESS | Published : 2011
Human subjects are proficient at tracking the mean and variance of rewards and updating these via prediction errors. Here, we addressed whether humans can also learn about higher-order relationships between distinct environmental outcomes, a defining ecological feature of contexts where multiple sources of rewards are available. By manipulating the degree to which distinct outcomes are correlated, we show that subjects implemented an explicit model-based strategy to learn the associated outcome correlations and were adept in using that information to dynamically adjust their choices in a task that required a minimization of outcome variance. Importantly, the experimentally generated outcome ..View full abstract
This study was supported by a Wellcome Trust Program Grant and Max Planck Award.