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A Dual-Process Theory of Action

Dual-Process Theory of Action

some actions are ‘controlled by two dissociable processes: a goal-directed [instrumental] and an habitual process’


Dickinson, 2016 p. 179

Something that can be interrupted
There are interventions which affect one process differently from the other.
These are technical terms
Earlier I asked, You see a rat and a lever. The rat presses the lever occasionally. Now you start rewarding the rat: when it presses the lever it is rewarded with a particular kind of food. As a consequence, the rat presses the lever more often.

Is this lever pressing habitual or instrumental aciton?

Now we can say the question is confused.

Are the causes of this action habitual or instrumental? Both!

Neurophysiological Evidence

‘[instumental] and habitual control have been doubly dissociated in two brain regions.

In the PFC, lesions of the prelimbic and infralimbic areas disrupt goal-directed [instrumental] and habitual behavior, respectively ...

These dissociations suggest that different neural circuits mediate the two forms of control’

Dickinson, 2016 p. 184