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Double dissociation of value computations in orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate neurons

Nature Neuroscience volume 14, pages 15811589 (2011) | Download Citation

Abstract

Damage to prefrontal cortex (PFC) impairs decision-making, but the underlying value computations that might cause such impairments remain unclear. Here we report that value computations are doubly dissociable among PFC neurons. Although many PFC neurons encoded chosen value, they used opponent encoding schemes such that averaging the neuronal population extinguished value coding. However, a special population of neurons in anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), but not in orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), multiplexed chosen value across decision parameters using a unified encoding scheme and encoded reward prediction errors. In contrast, neurons in OFC, but not ACC, encoded chosen value relative to the recent history of choice values. Together, these results suggest complementary valuation processes across PFC areas: OFC neurons dynamically evaluate current choices relative to recent choice values, whereas ACC neurons encode choice predictions and prediction errors using a common valuation currency reflecting the integration of multiple decision parameters.

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Acknowledgements

The project was funded by US National Institute on Drug Abuse grant R01DA19028, US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke grant P01NS040813 to J.W. and US National Institute on Mental Health training grant F32MH081521 to S.W.K. T.E.J.B. and S.W.K. are supported by the Wellcome Trust.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, UK.

    • Steven W Kennerley
    •  & Timothy E J Behrens
  2. Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA.

    • Steven W Kennerley
    •  & Jonathan D Wallis
  3. Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB), University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK.

    • Timothy E J Behrens
  4. Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA.

    • Jonathan D Wallis

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Contributions

S.W.K. designed the experiment, collected and analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. T.E.J.B. analyzed the data and edited the manuscript. J.D.W. designed the experiment, supervised the project and edited the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Steven W Kennerley.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2961

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