Focused Review ARTICLE

Front. Neurosci., 08 October 2012 |

Don’t let me do that! – models of precommitment

  • 1Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, London, UK
  • 2Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Precommitment, or taking away a future choice from oneself, is a mechanism for overcoming impulsivity. Here we review recent work suggesting that precommitment can be best explained through a distributed decision-making system with multiple discounting rates. This model makes specific predictions about precommitment behavior and is especially interesting in light of the emerging multiple-systems view of decision-making, in which functional systems with distinct neural substrates use different computational strategies to optimize decisions. Given the growing consensus that impulsivity constitutes a common point of breakdown in decision-making processes, with common neural and computational mechanisms across multiple psychiatric disorders, it is useful to translate precommitment into the common language of temporal difference reinforcement learning that unites many of these behavioral and neural data.

Keywords: discounting function, decision-making, neuroeconomics, temporal diference reinforcement learning, precommitment

Citation: Kurth-Nelson Z and Redish AD (2012) Don’t let me do that! – models of precommitment. Front. Neurosci. 6:138. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00138

Received: 25 June 2012; Accepted: 04 September 2012;
Published online: 08 October 2012.

Edited by:

Daeyeol Lee, Yale University School of Medicine, USA

Reviewed by:

Christian C. Luhmann, Stony Brook University, USA
Xinying Cai, Washington University in St Louis, USA

Copyright: © 2012 Kurth-Nelson and Redish. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.