Embodied Decision Making: System interactions in sensorimotor adaptation and reinforcement learning

Rich Ivry

Dept. of Psychology, UC Berkeley
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 12:00pm
560 Evans Hall

Two well-established literatures have provided elegant models of sensorimotor adaptation and decision making, with relative little connection between the two. I will discuss ways in which we can bring these two worlds together. In the first part of the talk, I will discuss work that has brought into focus the relevance of multiple learning mechanisms for sensorimotor learning. In particular, I will examine how strategic processes interact with a cerebellar error-based learning system in sensorimotor adaptation, highlighting a distinction between error signals that improve action execution or action selection. In the second part, I will turn to learning in decision making tasks, asking how competence in motor execution might be incorporated in models of reinforcement learning. Our work here addresses the question of how an agent determines if the absence of reward reflects a property of the stimulus or an error in motor execution. We suggest that sensorimotor errors provide a “gating” signal to regulate reinforcement learning, providing a simple solution to this fundamental credit assignment problem.