Magnetoencephalography decoding reveals structural differences within integrative decision processes

Eran Eldar*, Gyung Jin Bae, Zeb Kurth-Nelson, Peter Dayan, Raymond J. Dolan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

11 Scopus citations


When confronted with complex inputs consisting of multiple elements, humans use various strategies to integrate the elements quickly and accurately. For instance, accuracy may be improved by processing elements one at a time1–4 or over extended periods5–8; speed can increase if the internal representation of elements is accelerated9,10. However, little is known about how humans actually approach these challenges because behavioural findings can be accounted for by multiple alternative process models11 and neuroimaging investigations typically rely on haemodynamic signals that change too slowly. Consequently, to uncover the fast neural dynamics that support information integration, we decoded magnetoencephalographic signals that were recorded as human subjects performed a complex decision task. Our findings reveal three sources of individual differences in the temporal structure of the integration process—sequential representation, partial reinstatement and early computation—each having a dissociable effect on how subjects handled problem complexity and temporal constraints. Our findings shed new light on the structure and influence of self-determined neural integration processes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)670-681
Number of pages12
JournalNature Human Behaviour
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s).


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