Dudchenko P, Bett D, Allison E, Kaefer K & Wood ER (2013) An animal model of decision making: vicarious trial-and-error in tasks requiring memory for visual associations or spatial locations. In: Yamaguchi Y (ed.) Advances in Cognitive Neurodynamics (III): Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Cognitive Neurodynamics - 2011. ICCN2011: The 3rd International Conference on Cognitive Neurodynamics, Hokkaido, Japan, 09.06.2011-13.06.2011. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 429-435. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-007-4792-0_58#; https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4792-0_58
To assess the neural substrates of deliberative decision-making, it is useful to have a tractable animal model of this cognitive process. In this chapter we describe one potential marker of deliberative decision making in rodents: the back-and-forth head movements of the animal as it makes a decision, also referred to as vicarious trial-and-errors (VTEs). We quantify these in a spatial reversal task and a visual discrimination task, and observe that they exhibit different patterns in these tasks. This result indicates that there may be at least two types of VTEs: exploratory and deliberative.