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Beyond a Cognitive Dichotomy: Can Multiple Decision Systems Prove Useful to Distinguish Compulsive and Impulsive Symptom Dimensions?

  • Lorenz Deserno
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Lorenz Deserno, Prof. Dr.
    Affiliations
    Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research, University College London, London, United Kingdom

    Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, University College London, London, United Kingdom

    Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
    Search for articles by this author
  • Tobias U. Hauser
    Affiliations
    Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research, University College London, London, United Kingdom

    Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, University College London, London, United Kingdom
    Search for articles by this author
      The human mind likes simplicity, and so do scientists. This explains the popularity of dual system theories such as Daniel Kahneman’s fast and slow thinking. A dual systems theory that has a great following in cognitive neuroscience and computational psychiatry is the dichotomy between model-based and model-free learning and decision making (
      • Daw N.D.
      • Gershman S.J.
      • Seymour B.
      • Dayan P.
      • Dolan R.J.
      Model-based influences on humans’ choices and striatal prediction errors.
      ). The model-based system suggests a model of the world incorporating hidden states and details how one can transition between these states. This allows goal-directed and flexible planning, but it is computationally demanding. The model-free system, on the other hand, does not entail such a model and suggests learning of stimulus–outcome associations only through lived experiences. This allows fast and simple computing but is often constrained to simplistic and habit-like learning. Human behavior is found to be influenced by both systems, and ventral striatum and dopamine transmission seems to play a role for a relative weighting of both systems (
      • Daw N.D.
      • Gershman S.J.
      • Seymour B.
      • Dayan P.
      • Dolan R.J.
      Model-based influences on humans’ choices and striatal prediction errors.
      ,
      • Deserno L.
      • Huys Q.J.
      • Boehme R.
      • Buchert R.
      • Heinze H.J.
      • Grace A.A.
      • et al.
      Ventral striatal dopamine reflects behavioral and neural signatures of model-based control during sequential decision making.
      ).
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