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Cross-species studies of orbitofrontal cortex and value-based decision-making

Abstract

Recent work has emphasized the role that orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) has in value-based decision-making. However, it is also clear that a number of discrepancies have arisen when comparing the findings from animal models to those from humans. Here, we examine several possibilities that might explain these discrepancies, including anatomical difference between species, the behavioral tasks used to probe decision-making and the methodologies used to assess neural function. Understanding how these differences affect the interpretation of experimental results will help us to better integrate future results from animal models. This will enable us to fully realize the benefits of using multiple approaches to understand OFC function.

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Figure 1: Comparative anatomy of the human, monkey and rat frontal cortex.
Figure 2: The medial (top) and orbital (bottom) surfaces of the macaque frontal lobe, color-coded according to the areas with which they interconnect46.
Figure 3: Quantitative comparison of human and monkey frontal cortex.
Figure 4: Photomicrographs of cortical architecture in dysgranular and granular regions of OFC.

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Acknowledgements

I would like to thank R. Cools, E. Murray, C. Padoa-Schioppa, E. Rich, G. Schoenbaum and S. Wise for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. The preparation of this manuscript was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA19028) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (P01NS04081).

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Wallis, J. Cross-species studies of orbitofrontal cortex and value-based decision-making. Nat Neurosci 15, 13–19 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2956

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