The Web-Surf Task: A translational model of human decision-making

Samantha V. Abram, Yannick-Andre Breton, Brandy Schmidt, David Redish, Angus MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Animal models of decision-making are some of the most highly regarded psychological process models; however, there remains a disconnection between how these models are used for pre-clinical applications and the resulting treatment outcomes. This may be due to untested assumptions that different species recruit the same neural or psychological mechanisms. We propose a novel human foraging paradigm (Web-Surf Task) that we translated from a rat foraging paradigm (Restaurant Row) to evaluate cross-species decision-making similarities. We examined behavioral parallels in human and non-human animals using the respective tasks. We also compared two variants of the human task, one using videos and the other using photos as rewards, by correlating revealed and stated preferences. We demonstrate similarities in choice behaviors and decision reaction times in human and rat subjects. Findings also indicate that videos yielded more reliable and valid results. The joint use of the Web-Surf Task and Restaurant Row is therefore a promising approach for functional translational research, aiming to bridge pre-clinical and clinical lines of research using analogous tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-50
Number of pages14
JournalCognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Psychonomic Society, Inc.


  • Decision-making
  • Functional translation
  • Human
  • Impulsivity
  • Rat


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