The Eriksen task is a classical paradigm that explores the effects of competing sensory inputs on response tendencies and the nature of selective attention in controlling these processes. In this task, conflicting flanker stimuli interfere with the processing of a central target, especially on short reaction time trials. This task has been modeled by neural networks and more recently by a normative Bayesian account. Here, we analyze the dynamics of the Bayesian models, which are nonlinear, coupled discrete time dynamical systems, by considering simplified, approximate systems that are linear and decoupled. Analytical solutions of these allow us to describe how posterior probabilities and psychometric functions depend on model parameters. We compare our results with numerical simulations of the original models and derive fits to experimental data, showing that agreements are rather good. We also investigate continuum limits of these simplified dynamical systems and demonstrate that Bayesian updating is closely related to a drift-diffusion process, whose implementation in neural network models has been extensively studied. This provides insight into how neural substrates can implement Bayesian computations.

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