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      Anterior cingulate is a source of valence-specific information about value and uncertainty

      Nature Communications

      Nature Publishing Group UK

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          Abstract

          Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is thought to control a wide range of reward, punishment, and uncertainty-related behaviors. However, how it does so is unclear. Here, in a Pavlovian procedure in which monkeys displayed a diverse repertoire of reward-related, punishment-related, and uncertainty-related behaviors, we show that many ACC-neurons represent expected value and uncertainty in a valence-specific manner, signaling value or uncertainty predictions about either rewards or punishments. Other ACC-neurons signal prediction information about rewards and punishments by displaying excitation to both (rather than excitation to one and inhibition to the other). This diversity in valence representations may support the role of ACC in many behavioral states that are either enhanced by reward and punishment (e.g., vigilance) or specific to either reward or punishment (e.g., approach and avoidance). Also, this first demonstration of punishment-uncertainty signals in the brain suggests that ACC could be a target for the treatment of uncertainty-related disorders of mood.

          Abstract

          Rewards or punishments elicit diverse behavioral responses; however, the neural circuits underlying such flexibility are unclear. Here Monosov shows that this diversity could be supported by neurons in the anterior cingulate that represent expected value and uncertainty in a valence-specific manner.

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          Most cited references 57

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          The primate amygdala represents the positive and negative value of visual stimuli during learning.

          Visual stimuli can acquire positive or negative value through their association with rewards and punishments, a process called reinforcement learning. Although we now know a great deal about how the brain analyses visual information, we know little about how visual representations become linked with values. To study this process, we turned to the amygdala, a brain structure implicated in reinforcement learning. We recorded the activity of individual amygdala neurons in monkeys while abstract images acquired either positive or negative value through conditioning. After monkeys had learned the initial associations, we reversed image value assignments. We examined neural responses in relation to these reversals in order to estimate the relative contribution to neural activity of the sensory properties of images and their conditioned values. Here we show that changes in the values of images modulate neural activity, and that this modulation occurs rapidly enough to account for, and correlates with, monkeys' learning. Furthermore, distinct populations of neurons encode the positive and negative values of visual stimuli. Behavioural and physiological responses to visual stimuli may therefore be based in part on the plastic representation of value provided by the amygdala.
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            Anterior Cingulate Cortex, Error Detection, and the Online Monitoring of Performance

             C S Carter (1998)
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              Dopamine signals for reward value and risk: basic and recent data

              Background Previous lesion, electrical self-stimulation and drug addiction studies suggest that the midbrain dopamine systems are parts of the reward system of the brain. This review provides an updated overview about the basic signals of dopamine neurons to environmental stimuli. Methods The described experiments used standard behavioral and neurophysiological methods to record the activity of single dopamine neurons in awake monkeys during specific behavioral tasks. Results Dopamine neurons show phasic activations to external stimuli. The signal reflects reward, physical salience, risk and punishment, in descending order of fractions of responding neurons. Expected reward value is a key decision variable for economic choices. The reward response codes reward value, probability and their summed product, expected value. The neurons code reward value as it differs from prediction, thus fulfilling the basic requirement for a bidirectional prediction error teaching signal postulated by learning theory. This response is scaled in units of standard deviation. By contrast, relatively few dopamine neurons show the phasic activation following punishers and conditioned aversive stimuli, suggesting a lack of relationship of the reward response to general attention and arousal. Large proportions of dopamine neurons are also activated by intense, physically salient stimuli. This response is enhanced when the stimuli are novel; it appears to be distinct from the reward value signal. Dopamine neurons show also unspecific activations to non-rewarding stimuli that are possibly due to generalization by similar stimuli and pseudoconditioning by primary rewards. These activations are shorter than reward responses and are often followed by depression of activity. A separate, slower dopamine signal informs about risk, another important decision variable. The prediction error response occurs only with reward; it is scaled by the risk of predicted reward. Conclusions Neurophysiological studies reveal phasic dopamine signals that transmit information related predominantly but not exclusively to reward. Although not being entirely homogeneous, the dopamine signal is more restricted and stereotyped than neuronal activity in most other brain structures involved in goal directed behavior.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                ilya.monosov@gmail.com
                Journal
                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2041-1723
                26 July 2017
                26 July 2017
                2017
                : 8
                Affiliations
                ISNI 0000 0001 2355 7002, GRID grid.4367.6, Departments of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering, , Washington University in St. Louis, ; St. Louis, MO 63110 USA
                Article
                72
                10.1038/s41467-017-00072-y
                5529456
                28747623
                © The Author(s) 2017

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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