THE prefrontal cortex is important in the organization of goal-directed behaviour1–3. When animals are trained to work for a particular goal or reward4–7, reward 'expectancy' is processed by prefrontal neurons. Recent studies of the prefrontal cortex have concentrated on the role of working memory in the control of behaviour8–10. In spatial delayed-response tasks, neurons in the prefrontal cortex show activity changes during the delay period between presentation of the cue and the reward11–15, with some of the neurons being spatially specific (that is, responses vary with the cue position)13–15. Here I report that the delay activity in prefrontal neurons is dependent also on the particular reward received for the behavioural response, and to the way the reward is given. It seems that the prefrontal cortex may monitor the outcome of goal-directed behaviour.
This is a preview of subscription content
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Luria, A. R. Higher Cortical Functions in Man 2nd edn (Basic Books, New York, 1980).
Shallice, T. From Neuropsychology to Mental Structure (Cambridge Univ. Press, New York, 1988).
Fuster, J. M. The Prefrontal Cortex: Anatomy, Physiology, and Neurophysiology of the Frontal Lobe 2nd edn (Raven, New York, 1989).
Tinklepaugh, O. L. J. comp. Psychol. 8, 197–236 (1928).
Tolman, E. C. Purposive Behavior in Animals and Men (Century, New York, 1932).
Peterson, G. B. in Animal Cognition (eds Roitblat, H. L., Bever, T. G. & Terrace, H. S.) 135–148 (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, 1984).
Chatlosh, D. L. & Wasserman, E. A. in Learning and Memory (eds Germezano, I. & Wasserman, E. A.) 61–79 (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, 1992).
Goldmanm-Rakic, P. S. in Handbook of Physiology Vol. 5 The Nervous System, Higher Functions of the Brain Part 1 (ed. Plum, F.) 373–417 (Am. Physiol. Soc., Bethesda, 1987).
Petrides, M., Alivisatos, B., Evans, A. C. & Meyer, E. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 90, 873–877 (1993).
McCarthy, G. et al. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 91, 8690–8694 (1994).
Kubota, K. & Niki, H. J. Neurophysiol. 34, 337–347 (1971).
Fuster, J. M. J. Neurophysiol. 36, 61–78 (1973).
Niki, H. Brain Res. 70, 346–349 (1974).
Niki, H. & Watanabe, M. Brain Res. 105, 79–88 (1976).
Funahashi, S., Bruce, C. J. & Goldman-Rakic, P.S. J. Neurophysiol. 61, 331–349 (1989).
Niki, H. & Watanabe, M. Brain Res. 171, 213–224 (1979).
Sakagami, M. & Niki, H. Expl Brain Res. 97, 423–436 (1994).
Hikosaka, O., Sakamoto, M. & Usui, S. J. Neurophysiol. 61, 814–832 (1989).
Apicella, P., Scarnati, E., Ljungberg, T. & Schultz, W. J. Neurophysiol. 68, 945–960 (1992).
Schultz, W., Apicella, P., Scarnati, E. & Ljungberg, T. J. Neurosci. 12, 4595–4610 (1992).
Watanabe, M. Expl Brain Res. 80, 296–309 (1990).
Watanabe, M. Expl. Brain Res. 89, 233–247 (1992).
Watanabe, M. Neurosci. Lett. 101, 113–117 (1989).
Sirigu, A. et al. Cortex 31, 301–316 (1995).
About this article
Cite this article
Watanabe, M. Reward expectancy in primate prefrental neurons. Nature 382, 629–632 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1038/382629a0
The Role of Neurons in the Orbitofrontal Cortex and Subthalamic Nucleus in Maintaining Intersignal Reactions in “Impulsive” and “Self-Controlled” Behavior
Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology (2020)
Nature Human Behaviour (2019)
Parallel and functionally segregated processing of task phase and conscious content in the prefrontal cortex
Communications Biology (2018)
Nature Communications (2016)