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Space, Time, and Fear: Survival Computations along Defensive Circuits

Mobbs, Dean and Headley, Drew B. and Ding, Weilun and Dayan, Peter (2020) Space, Time, and Fear: Survival Computations along Defensive Circuits. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 24 (3). pp. 228-241. ISSN 1364-6613. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2019.12.016.

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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.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Mobbs, Dean0000-0003-1175-3772
Dayan, Peter0000-0003-3476-1839
Additional Information:© 2020 Elsevier Ltd. Available online 3 February 2020. This work was supported by US National Institute of Mental Health grant 2P50MH094258 and a Chen Institute Award (P2026052) (to D.M.) and the Max Planck Society and the Humboldt Foundation (to P.D.). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the authors’ funders.
Group:Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for NeuroscienceP2026052
Alexander von Humboldt FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200204-073015965
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Official Citation:Dean Mobbs, Drew B. Headley, Weilun Ding, Peter Dayan, Space, Time, and Fear: Survival Computations along Defensive Circuits, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Volume 24, Issue 3, 2020, Pages 228-241, ISSN 1364-6613, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101095
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 Feb 2020 17:41
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:59

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