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RISK ASSESSMENT IN MICE AND MEN

Dr. Fuat Balci

Thursday, September 27, 2007, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Rutgers University, Center for Cognitive Science

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Uncertainty is a ubiquitous property of both the physical and mental
realm. Decision-making research has repeatedly shown that humans are non-
normative decision-makers under uncertainty. I show that when the decision
requires choosing a target time for making a behavioral shift from one
location, where a target may appear early, to another location, where it
may appear late, both humans and mice normatively assess both the
uncertainty arising from imprecision in their mental representation of
elapsed time (intrinsic, cognitive uncertainty) and the experienced
extrinsic uncertainty about which location is  more probable and choose a
nearly optimal target switching time. I discuss the implications of these
results for questions regarding  the functional architecture of the mind.
I argue that quantitative fine-tuning of human and mice behavior in these
decision-making contexts requires a substantial level of
representational/computational power and cannot be accounted for by the
associative conceptual framework of mind.

Dr. Fuat Balci