Neuronal activity in dorsal anterior cingulate cortex during economic choices under variable action costs

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Abstract

The role of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACCd) in decision making has often been discussed but remains somewhat unclear. On the one hand, numerous studies implicated this area in decisions driven by effort or action cost. On the other hand, work on economic choices between goods (under fixed action costs) found that neurons in ACCd encoded only post-decision variables. To advance our understanding of the role played by this area in decision making, we trained monkeys to choose between different goods (juice types) offered in variable amounts and with different action costs. Importantly, the task design dissociated computation of the action cost from planning of any particular action. Neurons in ACCd encoded the chosen value and the binary choice outcome in several reference frames (chosen juice, chosen cost, chosen action). Thus, this area provided a rich representation of post-decision variables. In contrast to the OFC, neurons in ACCd did not represent pre-decision variables such as individual offer values in any reference frame. Hence, ongoing decisions are unlikely guided by ACCd. Conversely, neuronal activity in this area might inform subsequent actions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere71695
JournaleLife
Volume10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021

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