Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit
Alexandra House, 17 Queen Square, LONDON, WC1N 3AR, UK, T: +44 (0) 20 7679 1176, F: +44 (0) 20 7679 1173

Workshop on:
Motivation and Action Selection

20-22 June 2005
By invitation only

Venue: B10 Seminar Room, Alexandra House, 17 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AR

Please see map at:

Supported by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation

|Objective|Participants|Programme|References|Travel information|


The workshop will focus on the broad area of motivation and action selection in animal and human conditioned behaviour.


From a behavioural viewpoint, we hope to consider ideas about the fractionation of behaviour into multiple types such as Pavlovian and instrumental actions, habitual and goal-directed behaviours, and the circumstances favouring each.  The effects of motivational manipulations and devaluation on different categories of behaviour are of special current interest, as is evidenced from economics regarding competition or facilitation between different action strategies.


From a neural perspective, the substrates for these behaviours are a key concern, particularly the differential contribution of the basal ganglia, prefrontal cortex and amygdala to action selection.  The role of neuromodulatory systems such as dopamine in associative learning and the vigour of responding are also critical.


From a theoretical viewpoint, many authors treat action selection as a form of (approximately) optimal control. Thus, the workshop might discuss rules for appropriate action selection, how they might potentially involve the competition between multiple controllers, and their neural and psychological correlates.


Organisers: Yael Niv, Nathaniel Daw and Peter Dayan