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      Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Encodes a Latent Estimate of Cumulative Reward

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      Neuron

      Elsevier BV

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          Most cited references 41

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          Risk Aversion in the Small and in the Large

           John W. Pratt (1964)
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            The neural basis of loss aversion in decision-making under risk.

            People typically exhibit greater sensitivity to losses than to equivalent gains when making decisions. We investigated neural correlates of loss aversion while individuals decided whether to accept or reject gambles that offered a 50/50 chance of gaining or losing money. A broad set of areas (including midbrain dopaminergic regions and their targets) showed increasing activity as potential gains increased. Potential losses were represented by decreasing activity in several of these same gain-sensitive areas. Finally, individual differences in behavioral loss aversion were predicted by a measure of neural loss aversion in several regions, including the ventral striatum and prefrontal cortex.
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              Neurons in the orbitofrontal cortex encode economic value.

              Economic choice is the behaviour observed when individuals select one among many available options. There is no intrinsically 'correct' answer: economic choice depends on subjective preferences. This behaviour is traditionally the object of economic analysis and is also of primary interest in psychology. However, the underlying mental processes and neuronal mechanisms are not well understood. Theories of human and animal choice have a cornerstone in the concept of 'value'. Consider, for example, a monkey offered one raisin versus one piece of apple: behavioural evidence suggests that the animal chooses by assigning values to the two options. But where and how values are represented in the brain is unclear. Here we show that, during economic choice, neurons in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) encode the value of offered and chosen goods. Notably, OFC neurons encode value independently of visuospatial factors and motor responses. If a monkey chooses between A and B, neurons in the OFC encode the value of the two goods independently of whether A is presented on the right and B on the left, or vice versa. This trait distinguishes the OFC from other brain areas in which value modulates activity related to sensory or motor processes. Our results have broad implications for possible psychological models, suggesting that economic choice is essentially choice between goods rather than choice between actions. In this framework, neurons in the OFC seem to be a good candidate network for value assignment underlying economic choice.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Neuron
                Neuron
                Elsevier BV
                08966273
                February 2017
                February 2017
                : 93
                : 3
                : 705-714.e4
                Article
                10.1016/j.neuron.2016.12.038
                © 2017

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