Distinct portions of anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex are activated by reward processing in separable phases of decision-making cognition.
ABSTRACT Choosing between actions associated with uncertain rewards and punishments is mediated by neural circuitry encompassing the orbitofrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and striatum; however, the precise conditions under which these different components are activated during decision-making cognition remain uncertain.
Fourteen healthy volunteers completed an event-based functional magnetic resonance imaging protocol to investigate blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) responses during independently modeled phases of choice cognition. In the "decision phase," participants decided which of two simultaneous visually presented gambles they wished to play for monetary reward. The gambles differed in their magnitude of gains, magnitude of losses, and the probabilities with which these outcomes were delivered. In the "outcome phase," the result of each choice was indicated on the visual display.
In the decision phase, choices involving large gains were associated with increased BOLD responses in the pregenual ACC, paracingulate, and right posterior orbitolateral cortex compared with choices involving small gains. In the outcome phase, good outcomes were associated with increased BOLD responses in the posterior orbitomedial cortex, subcallosal ACC, and ventral striatum compared with negative outcomes. There was only limited overlap between reward-related activity in ACC and orbitofrontal cortex during the decision and outcome phases.
Neural activity within the medial and lateral orbitofrontal cortex, pregenual ACC, and striatum mediate distinct representations of reward-related information that are deployed at different stages during a decision-making episode.
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ABSTRACT: Cocaine-dependent individuals show altered brain activation during decision making. It is unclear, however, whether these activation differences are related to relapse vulnerability. This study tested the hypothesis that brain-activation patterns during reinforcement learning are linked to relapse 1 year later in individuals entering treatment for cocaine dependence. Subjects performed a Paper-Scissors-Rock task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). A year later, we examined whether subjects had remained abstinent (n=15) or relapsed (n=15). Although the groups did not differ on demographic characteristics, behavioral performance, or lifetime substance use, abstinent patients reported greater motivation to win than relapsed patients. The fMRI results indicated that compared with abstinent individuals, relapsed users exhibited lower activation in (1) bilateral inferior frontal gyrus and striatum during decision making more generally; and (2) bilateral middle frontal gyrus and anterior insula during reward contingency learning in particular. Moreover, whereas abstinent patients exhibited greater left middle frontal and striatal activation to wins than losses, relapsed users did not demonstrate modulation in these regions as a function of outcome valence. Thus, individuals at high risk for relapse relative to those who are able to abstain allocate fewer neural resources to action-outcome contingency formation and decision making, as well as having less motivation to win on a laboratory-based task.Psychiatry research. 05/2014;
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ABSTRACT: Successful behavior requires actively acquiring and representing information about the environment and people, and manipulating and using those acquired representations flexibly to optimally act in and on the world. The frontal lobes have figured prominently in most accounts of flexible or goal-directed behavior, as evidenced by often-reported behavioral inflexibility in individuals with frontal lobe dysfunction. Here, we propose that the hippocampus also plays a critical role by forming and reconstructing relational memory representations that underlie flexible cognition and social behavior. There is mounting evidence that damage to the hippocampus can produce inflexible and maladaptive behavior when such behavior places high demands on the generation, recombination, and flexible use of information. This is seen in abilities as diverse as memory, navigation, exploration, imagination, creativity, decision-making, character judgments, establishing and maintaining social bonds, empathy, social discourse, and language use. Thus, the hippocampus, together with its extensive interconnections with other neural systems, supports the flexible use of information in general. Further, we suggest that this understanding has important clinical implications. Hippocampal abnormalities can produce profound deficits in real-world situations, which typically place high demands on the flexible use of information, but are not always obvious on diagnostic tools tuned to frontal lobe function. This review documents the role of the hippocampus in supporting flexible representations and aims to expand our understanding of the dynamic networks that operate as we move through and create meaning of our world.Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:742. · 2.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background Risky decision-making is commonly observed in persons at risk for and infected with HIV and is associated with executive dysfunction. Yet it is currently unknown whether HIV alters brain processing of risk-taking decision-making. Methods This study examined the neural substrate of a risky decision-making task in 21 HIV seropositive (HIV+) and 19 seronegative (HIV-) comparison participants. Functional magnetic resonance imaging was conducted while participants performed the risky- gains task, which involves choosing among safe (20 cents) and risky (40/80 cent win or loss) choices. Linear mixed effects analyses examining group and decision type were conducted. Robust regressions were performed to examine the relationship between nadir CD4 count and Kalichman sexual compulsivity and brain activation in the HIV+ group. The overlap between the task effects and robust regressions was explored. Results Although there were no serostatus effects in behavioral performance on the risky-gains task, HIV+ individuals exhibited greater activation for risky choices in the basal ganglia, i.e. the caudate nucleus, but also in the anterior cingulate, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and insula relative to the HIV- group. The HIV+ group also demonstrated reduced functional responses to safe choices in the anterior cingulate and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex relative to the HIV- group. HIV+ individuals with higher nadir CD4 count and greater sexual compulsivity displayed lower differential responses to safe versus risky choices in many of these regions. Conclusions This study demonstrated fronto-striatal loop dysfunction associated with HIV infection during risky decision-making. Combined with similar between-group task behavior, this suggests an adaptive functional response in regions critical to reward and behavioral control in the HIV+ group. HIV-infected individuals with higher CD4 nadirs demonstrated activation patterns more similar to seronegative individuals. This suggests that the severity of past immunosuppression (CD4 nadir) may exert a legacy effect on processing of risky choices in the HIV-infected brain.PLoS ONE 11/2014; · 3.53 Impact Factor