1 The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, Faculty of Engineering, SDU2 Georg-August University of Göttingen3 The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, Faculty of Engineering, SDU
Goal-directed decision making in biological systems is broadly based on associations between conditional and unconditional stimuli. This can be further classified as classical conditioning (correlation-based learning) and operant conditioning (reward-based learning). A number of computational and experimental studies have well established the role of the basal ganglia in reward-based learning, where as the cerebellum plays an important role in developing specific conditioned responses. Although viewed as distinct learning systems, recent animal experiments point toward their complementary role in behavioral learning, and also show the existence of substantial two-way communication between these two brain structures. Based on this notion of co-operative learning, in this paper we hypothesize that the basal ganglia and cerebellar learning systems work in parallel and interact with each other. We envision that such an interaction is influenced by reward modulated heterosynaptic plasticity (RMHP) rule at the thalamus, guiding the overall goal directed behavior. Using a recurrent neural network actor-critic model of the basal ganglia and a feed-forward correlation-based learning model of the cerebellum, we demonstrate that the RMHP rule can effectively balance the outcomes of the two learning systems. This is tested using simulated environments of increasing complexity with a four-wheeled robot in a foraging task in both static and dynamic configurations. Although modeled with a simplified level of biological abstraction, we clearly demonstrate that such a RMHP induced combinatorial learning mechanism, leads to stabler and faster learning of goal-directed behaviors, in comparison to the individual systems. Thus, in this paper we provide a computational model for adaptive combination of the basal ganglia and cerebellum learning systems by way of neuromodulated plasticity for goal-directed decision making in biological and bio-mimetic organisms.