Motor effort alters changes of mind in sensorimotor decision making

Diana Burk, James N. Ingram, David W. Franklin, Michael N. Shadlen, Daniel M. Wolpert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


After committing to an action, a decision-maker can change their mind to revise the action. Such changes of mind can even occur when the stream of information that led to the action is curtailed at movement onset. This is explained by the time delays in sensory processing and motor planning which lead to a component at the end of the sensory stream that can only be processed after initiation. Such post-initiation processing can explain the pattern of changes of mind by asserting an accumulation of additional evidence to a criterion level, termed change-of-mind bound. Here we test the hypothesis that physical effort associated with the movement required to change one's mind affects the level of the change-of-mind bound and the time for post-initiation deliberation. We varied the effort required to change from one choice target to another in a reaching movement by varying the geometry of the choice targets or by applying a force field between the targets. We show that there is a reduction in the frequency of change of mind when the separation of the choice targets would require a larger excursion of the hand from the initial to the opposite choice. The reduction is best explained by an increase in the evidence required for changes of mind and a reduced time period of integration after the initial decision. Thus the criteria to revise an initial choice is sensitive to energetic costs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere92681
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - 20 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


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