Encoding of multiple reward-related computations in transient and sustained high-frequency activity in human OFC

TitleEncoding of multiple reward-related computations in transient and sustained high-frequency activity in human OFC
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSaez, I, Lin, J, Stolk, A, Chang, E, Parvizi, J, Schalk, G, Knight, RT, Hsu, M
JournalCurrent Biology
Start Page2889
Date Published09/2018
KeywordsECoC, Electrocorticography, ERP, event-related potential, field potential, FP, HFA, high-frequency activity, OFC, orbitofrontal cortex, reward-prediction error, RPE

Human orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) has long been implicated in value-based decision making. In recent years, convergent evidence from human and model organisms has further elucidated its role in representing reward-related computations underlying decision making. However, a detailed description of these processes remains elusive due in part to (1) limitations in our ability to observe human OFC neural dynamics at the timescale of decision processes and (2) methodological and interspecies differences that make it challenging to connect human and animal findings or to resolve discrepancies when they arise. Here, we sought to address these challenges by conducting multi-electrode electrocorticography (ECoG) recordings in neurosurgical patients during economic decision making to elucidate the electrophysiological signature, sub-second temporal profile, and anatomical distribution of reward-related computations within human OFC. We found that high-frequency activity (HFA) (70-200 Hz) reflected multiple valuation components grouped in two classes of valuation signals that were dissociable in temporal profile and information content: (1) fast, transient responses reflecting signals associated with choice and outcome processing, including anticipated risk and outcome regret, and (2) sustained responses explicitly encoding what happened in the immediately preceding trial. Anatomically, these responses were widely distributed in partially overlapping networks, including regions in the central OFC (Brodmann areas 11 and 13), which have been consistently implicated in reward processing in animal single-unit studies. Together, these results integrate insights drawn from human and animal studies and provide evidence for a role of human OFC in representing multiple reward computations.

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