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Vigilance, arousal, and acetylcholine: Optimal control of attention in a simple detection task

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Dayan,  P
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department of Computational Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Lloyd,  K
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department of Computational Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Chebolu, S., Dayan, P., & Lloyd, K. (submitted). Vigilance, arousal, and acetylcholine: Optimal control of attention in a simple detection task.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-06A9-1
Abstract
Paying attention to particular aspects of the world or being more vigilant in general can be interpreted as forms of 'internal' action. Such arousal-related choices come with the benefit of increasing the quality and situational appropriateness of information acquisition and processing, but incur potentially expensive energetic and opportunity costs. The choices are likely implemented by widespread ascending neuromodulatory systems, including acetylcholine (ACh) and norepinephrine (NE). The key computational question that elective attention poses for sensory processing is when it is worthwhile paying these costs, and this includes consideration of whether sufficient information has yet been collected to justify the higher signal-to-noise ratio afforded by greater attention and, particularly if a change in attentional state is more expensive than its maintenance, when states of heightened attention ought to persist. We offer a partially observable Markov decision-process treatment of optional attention in a signal detection task, and use it to provide a qualitative model of the results of studies using modern techniques to measure and manipulate ACh in rodents performing a similar task.