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The effects of directed and free self-monitoring on goal-directed and habitual decision-making


Ershadmanesh,  S       
Department of Computational Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Hossein, M., Ershadmanesh, S., Vahabie, A.-H., & Ahmadabadi, M. (submitted). The effects of directed and free self-monitoring on goal-directed and habitual decision-making.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-96B6-C
Many studies on humans and animals have provided evidence for the contribution of goal-directed and habitual valuation systems in learning and decision-making. However, how the arbitration between these two systems is affected by other cognitive processes is not well known. Here, we study the effects of directed and free self-monitoring of one’s decisions on this arbitration. In our experiments, in a within-subject design, the subjects participated in a control and a two modified versions of the Two-step decision-making task, where we could measure each system’s contribution to decisions. We had two modified tasks. In both, every few trials subjects had to think about what they have experienced in the past trials in one of the two days. In one task, they had to designate which action was better and then report their confidence about this decision (directed self-monitoring task). In the other modification of task, they had to explain what had happened in the past few trials by talking (free self-monitoring task). We hypnotized that in both modified tasks, the behavior of the participants would shift toward goal-directed behavior because they need to think more about the structure of the task. Our experimental results showed that subjects indeed became more goal-directed in the directed self-monitoring task, but in the free self-monitoring task, they became more habitual. We would discuss the underlying reasons for these shifts in the behavior.