Attractors and noise: twin drivers of decisions and multistability.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


NeuroImage, Volume 52, Number 3, p.740–51 (2010)



Animals, Brain, Brain: physiology, Decision Making, Decision Making: physiology, Humans, Models, Neurological, Neurons, Neurons: physiology, perception, Perception: physiology


Perceptual decisions are made not only during goal-directed behavior such as choice tasks, but also occur spontaneously while multistable stimuli are being viewed. In both contexts, the formation of a perceptual decision is best captured by noisy attractor dynamics. Noise-driven attractor transitions can accommodate a wide range of timescales and a hierarchical arrangement with "nested attractors" harbors even more dynamical possibilities. The attractor framework seems particularly promising for understanding higher-level mental states that combine heterogeneous information from a distributed set of brain areas.