Overlapping Prediction Errors in Dorsal Striatum During Instrumental Learning With Juice and Money Reward in the Human Brain

Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA.
Journal of Neurophysiology (Impact Factor: 2.89). 09/2009; 102(6):3384-91. DOI: 10.1152/jn.91195.2008
Source: PubMed


Prediction error signals have been reported in human imaging studies in target areas of dopamine neurons such as ventral and dorsal striatum during learning with many different types of reinforcers. However, a key question that has yet to be addressed is whether prediction error signals recruit distinct or overlapping regions of striatum and elsewhere during learning with different types of reward. To address this, we scanned 17 healthy subjects with functional magnetic resonance imaging while they chose actions to obtain either a pleasant juice reward (1 ml apple juice), or a monetary gain (5 cents) and applied a computational reinforcement learning model to subjects' behavioral and imaging data. Evidence for an overlapping prediction error signal during learning with juice and money rewards was found in a region of dorsal striatum (caudate nucleus), while prediction error signals in a subregion of ventral striatum were significantly stronger during learning with money but not juice reward. These results provide evidence for partially overlapping reward prediction signals for different types of appetitive reinforcers within the striatum, a finding with important implications for understanding the nature of associative encoding in the striatum as a function of reinforcer type.

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Available from: Vivian Virag Valentin, Aug 21, 2014
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    • "Uncertain premiums have some economic appeal to marketers, since they need not be paid out for each smaller-sized portion choice. However, prior research on the commensurability of food with nonfood resources has focused only on premiums whose receipt is certain to occur (e.g., Kim et al. 2011; Valentin and O'Doherty 2009). Observing that the Pilot Study results are replicated when the receipt of the premium is uncertain would thus add to this literature. "
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    • "Money, a secondary reinforcer, was chosen for use in the study given that it can be somewhat equated in the positive and negative domains (i.e., it can be gained or lost, unlike many primary reinforcers). Neuroimaging studies in humans have highlighted a role for the striatum in Pavlovian conditioning with appetitive and aversive primary reinforcers (e.g., juice: O'Doherty et al., 2004; shock: see Phelps and LeDoux, 2005, for review), and also with secondary reinforcers (e.g., money: Kirsch et al., 2003; Valentin and O'Doherty, 2009; Delgado et al., 2011). Thus, we hypothesized that the striatum would be engaged in our simple Pavlovian conditioning paradigm with secondary reinforcers. "
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    • "The effectiveness of this type of negative feedback might be complicated by the ethical consideration that subjects should never lose money [35], [39]. Still, although overlapping neural mechanisms for reward and reward prediction errors have been identified for primary and secondary rewards using money and juice [44], [45], it is not clear whether monetary loss is analogous to a primary punishment, such as air puff or electric shock in driving behavioral flexibility. "
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