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Title:  Space, Time and Fear: Survival Decisions along Defensive Circuits 

Naturalistic observations show that decisions to avoid or escape predators occur at different spatiotemporal scales and that they are supported by different computations and neural circuits. At their extremes, proximal threats are addressed by a limited repertoire of reflexive and myopic actions, reflecting reduced decision and state spaces and model-free (MF) architectures. Conversely, distal threats allow increased information processing supported by model-based (MB) operations, including affective prospection, replay, and planning. However, MF and MB computations are often intertwined, and under conditions of safety the foundations for future effective reactive execution can be laid through MB instruction of MF control. Together, these computations are associated with distinct population codes embedded within a distributed defensive circuitry whose goal is to determine and realize the best policy.


Dr. Mobbs is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at California Institute of Technology.


NACS Seminars are free and open to the public.

Dr. Dean Mobbs