The expected utility of movement

Julia Trommershäuser, Laurence T. Maloney, Michael S. Landy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Movement planning shares the same structure as economic decision-making. Subjects in movement tasks are generally found to be very good at choosing motor strategies that come close to maximizing expected gain. In contrast, subjects in economic decision- making typically fail to maximize expected gain. Moreover, the sources of uncertainty in motor tasks are endogenous; they reflect the organism's own uncertainty in planning movement while, in contrast, uncertainty in economic tasks is typically imposed by the experimenter. Thus, probabilistic information from cognition, perception, and movement has different origins. Movement planning is well described by simple models that maximize expected gain while there is no single model of economic decision-making that captures all of the complexity of human behavior. Careful study of the neural circuitry underlying decision-making in the form of movement could lead to a better understanding of how the brain gathers information to make decisions and transforms them into movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeuroeconomics
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780123741769
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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