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: Neuroimaging studies have shown that white matter damage accompanies excessive alcohol use, but the functional correlates of alcohol-related white matter disruption remain unknown. This study applied tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) to diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data from 332 heavy drinkers (mean age = 31.2 ± 9.4; 31% female) to obtain averaged fractional anisotropy (FA) values of 18 white matter tracts. Statistical analyses examined correlations of FA values with blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) response to an alcohol taste cue, measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). FA values of nine white matter tracts (anterior corona radiata, body of corpus callosum, cingulate gyrus, external capsule, fornix, inferior frontooccipital fasciculus, posterior corona radiata, retrolenticular limb of internal capsule, and superior longitudinal fasciculus) were significantly, negatively correlated with BOLD activation in medial frontal gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, fusiform gyrus, cingulum, thalamus, caudate, putamen, insula, and cerebellum. The inverse relation between white matter integrity and functional activation during the alcohol taste cue provides support for the hypothesis that lower white matter integrity in frontoparietal and corticolimbic networks is a factor in loss of control over alcohol consumption.Brain and behavior. 03/2014; 4(2):158-70.
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ABSTRACT: Most tobacco smokers who wish to quit fail to reach their goal. One important, insufficiently emphasized aspect of addiction relates to the decision-making system, often characterized by dysfunctional cognitive control and a powerful drive for reward. Recent proof-of-principle studies indicate that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) can transiently modulate processes involved in decision-making, and reduce substance intake and craving for various addictions. We previously proposed that this beneficial effect of stimulation for reducing addictive behaviors is in part mediated by more reflective decision-making. The goal of this study was to test whether nicotine intake and decision-making behaviors are modulated by tDCS over the DLPFC in tobacco smokers who wished to quit smoking. Subjects received two five-day tDCS regimens (active or sham). Stimulation was delivered over the right DLPFC at a 2mA during 30min. Nicotine cravings, cigarette consumption and decision-making were assessed before and after each session. Main findings include a significant decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked when participants received active as compared to sham stimulation. This effect lasted up to four days after the end of the stimulation regimen. In regards to decision-making, smokers rejected more often offers of cigarettes, but not offers of money, after they received active as compared to sham stimulation at the Ultimatum Game. No significant change was observed at the Risk Task with cigarettes or money as rewards. Overall, these findings suggest that tDCS over the DLPFC may be beneficial for smoking reduction and induce reward sensitive effects.Drug and alcohol dependence 04/2014; · 3.60 Impact Factor
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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;