Integration of multiple determinants in the neuronal computation of economic values

Anantha P. Raghuraman, Camillo Padoa-Schioppa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Economic goods may vary on multiple dimensions (determinants). A central conjecture in decision neuroscience is that choices between goods are made by comparing subjective values computed through the integration of all relevant determinants. Previous work identified three groups of neurons in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) of monkeys engaged in economic choices: (1) offer value cells, which encode the value of individual offers; (2) chosen value cells, which encode the value of the chosen good; and (3) chosen juice cells, which encode the identity of the chosen good. In principle, these populations could be sufficient to generate a decision. Critically, previous work did not assess whether offer value cells (the putative input to the decision) indeed encode subjective values as opposed to physical properties of the goods, and/or whether offer value cells integrate multiple determinants. To address these issues, we recorded from the OFC while monkeys chose between risky outcomes. Confirming previous observations, three populations of neurons encoded the value of individual offers, the value of the chosen option, and the value-independent choice outcome. The activity of both offer value cells and chosen value cells encoded values defined by the integration of juice quantity and probability. Furthermore, both populations reflected the subjective risk attitude of the animals. We also found additional groups of neurons encoding the risk associated with a particular option, the risky nature of the chosen option, and whether the trial outcome was positive or negative. These results provide substantial support for the conjecture described above and for the involvement of OFC in good-based decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11583-11603
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 27 2014


  • Economic choice
  • Neuroeconomics
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Primate neurophysiology
  • Rhesus monkey
  • Subjective value


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