Figure 4 | Neuropsychopharmacology

Figure 4

From: The Protective Action Encoding of Serotonin Transients in the Human Brain

Figure 4

Serotonin encodes negative reward prediction errors at high bets. (a) Testing across all outcomes and separating according to either a concomitant positive or negative reward prediction error, we found that serotonin fluctuated significantly more positively for negative (black line) compared to positive (cyan line) reward prediction errors. Six two-sample t-tests were performed over temporal bins (100–600 ms) comparing concentration levels; significant effects of RPE were observed at 300 and 400 ms (*p<0.05). Here we baseline corrected at −100 ms. (b) Two-way analyses of variance of serotonin’s transient response at presentation of the outcome or market move were performed for six temporal bins (100–600 ms), with factors reward prediction error polarity; positive and negative and bet level; low (0–50%), and high (60–100%). These revealed a significant interaction of reward prediction error and bet level at 100 (F=14.34, p=0.0002) and 500 ms (F=4.89, p=0.027). Post hoc two-sample t-tests were performed using permutation testing to assess within bet range differences in the response to negative compared to positive reward prediction errors. For the high bet range (60–100% invested), serotonin transients were significantly greater for negative compared to positive reward prediction errors at 100 ms, p=0.001; 300 ms, p=0.011; 400 ms, p=0.005; and 500 ms, p=0.01. While for the low bet range (0–50% invested) responses were significantly greater for positive compared to negative reward prediction errors at 100 ms; p=0.016. Only the differential response at 100 ms in the high bet case survived FWE-correction p=0.005 (**p0.005, *p0.05, (**)FWE-corrected). We also applied one-sample, two-sided t-tests in order to investigate the effects of RPE and bet size on 5-HT responses as compared to baseline. We find that the difference is driven by significant decreases in 5-HT following positive reward prediction errors at high bets, and to negative reward prediction errors at low bets («p<0.005, <p<0.05). Bar graphs depict the mean and SEM. Comparisons of transients with an alternate baseline is presented in Supplementary Figure S3. (c) The area under the curve in b revealed a significant interaction (F=7.13, p=0.0077) of RPE and bet level with larger (in time and amplitude) negative-going transients for positive reward prediction error responses in the high bet condition. (d) We tested the serotonin response at 100 ms and its correlation with the sign and polarity of the RPE. After omitting 65 outliers (~3% of trials) that may drive the effect (outliers defined as RPEs with an absolute magnitude >3 and Z-scores with an absolute magnitude >5) we see a small but significant correlation for the different bet levels. Serotonin transients are negatively correlated with the RPE for high bets (R=−0.0714; p=0.0113) and positively correlated with the RPE for low bets (R=0.0653; p=0.0494). To explore these results more granularly, we examined individual bins. We found that the only significant individual bins were at (20 and 30%), (60 and 70%), and (80 and 90%) with correlation coefficients and p-values of (R=0.19; p=0.01), (R=−0.08; p=0.06), and (R=−0.14; p=0.009), respectively. This suggests that a putative ‘indifference point’ for counterfactual and actual losses occurs around 40–50%.

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