Neuronal evidence for good-based economic decisions under variable action costs

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Previous work showed that economic decisions can be made independently of spatial contingencies. However, when goods available for choice bear different action costs, the decision necessarily reflects aspects of the action. One possibility is that “stimulus values” are combined with the corresponding action costs in a motor representation, and decisions are then made in actions space. Alternatively, action costs could be integrated with other determinants of value in a non-spatial representation. If so, decisions under variable action costs could take place in goods space. Here, we recorded from orbitofrontal cortex while monkeys chose between different juices offered in variable amounts. We manipulated action costs by varying the saccade amplitude, and we dissociated in time and space offer presentation from action planning. Neurons encoding the binary choice outcome did so well before the presentation of saccade targets, indicating that decisions were made in goods space.

Original languageEnglish
Article number393
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


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