- Keywords: Inverse Reinforcement Learning, Neural Decoding, Computational Biology
- Abstract: Current neural decoding methods typically aim at explaining behavior based on neural activity via supervised learning. However, since generally there is a strong connection between learning of subjects and their expectations on long-term rewards, we propose NeuRL, an inverse reinforcement learning approach that (1) extracts an intrinsic reward function from collected trajectories of a subject in closed form, (2) maps neural signals to this intrinsic reward to account for long-term dependencies in the behavior and (3) predicts the simulated behavior for unseen neural signals by extracting Q-values and the corresponding Boltzmann policy based on the intrinsic reward values for these unseen neural signals. We show that NeuRL leads to better generalization and improved decoding performance compared to supervised approaches. We study the behavior of rats in a response-preparation task and evaluate the performance of NeuRL within simulated inhibition and per-trial behavior prediction. By assigning clear functional roles to defined neuronal populations our approach offers a new interpretation tool for complex neuronal data with testable predictions. In per-trial behavior prediction, our approach furthermore improves accuracy by up to 15% compared to traditional methods.
- Supplementary Material: zip