The problem of selecting one action from a set of different possible actions, simply referred to as the problem of action selection, is a ubiquitous challenge in the animal world. For vertebrates, the basal ganglia (BG) are widely thought to implement the core computation to solve this problem, as its anatomy and physiology are well suited to this end. However, the BG still display physiological features whose role in achieving efficient action selection remains unclear. In particular, it is known that the two types of dopaminergic receptors (D1 and D2) present in the BG give rise to mechanistically different responses. The overall effect will be a difference in sensitivity to dopamine, which may have ramifications for action selection. However, which receptor type leads to a stronger response is unclear due to the complexity of the intracellular mechanisms involved. In this study, we use an existing, high-level computational model of the BG, which assumes that dopamine contributes to action selection by enabling a switch between different selection regimes, to predict which of D1 or D2 has the greater sensitivity. Thus, we ask, Assuming dopamine enables a switch between action selection regimes in the BG, what functional sensitivity values would result in improved action selection computation? To do this, we quantitatively assessed the model's capacity to perform action selection as we parametrically manipulated the sensitivity weights of D1 and D2. We show that differential (rather than equal) D1 and D2 sensitivity to dopaminergic input improves the switch between selection regimes during the action selection computation in our model. Specifically, greater D2 sensitivity compared to D1 led to these improvements.

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