Values and actions in aversion
Dayan P., Seymour B.
Model-based and model-free controllers can, in principle, learn arbitrary actions to optimize their behavior, at least those actions that can be expressed and explored. Indeed, these are often referred to as instrumental controllers because their choices are learned to be instrumental for the delivery of desired outcomes. Although this flexibility is very powerful, it comes with an attendant cost of learning. Evolution appears to have endowed everything from the simplest organisms to us with powerful, pre-specified, but inflexible alternatives. These responses are termed Pavlovian, after the famous Russian physiologist and psychologist Pavlov. The responses of the Pavlovian controller are determined by evolutionary (phylogenetic) considerations rather than (ontogenetic) aspects of the contingent development or learning of an individual. These responses directly interact with instrumental choices arising from goal-directed and habitual controllers. This interaction has been studied in a wealth of animal paradigms, and can be helpful, neutral, or harmful, according to circumstance. Although there has been less careful or analytical study of it in humans, it can be interpreted as underpinning a wealth of behavioral aberrations. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.