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"Predicting value-based choices: a neural population recording approach in nonhuman primates", Vincent McGinty (Rutgers Newark, Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience)

Tuesday, March 03, 2020, 01:00pm - 02:30pm

Busch Campus, Psych 105

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Abstract: A fundamental goal in neuroeconomics is to identify how neural representations of value relate to value-based decisions. Although the value-coding neurons of the primate orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) have long been scrutinized in this role, we still lack a complete understanding of their contribution to behavior. In particular, we lack a clear account of how variability in the neural representation of value co-varies with (i.e. predicts) choices on a trial-by-trial basis. In this talk, I will describe a population approach to choice prediction, one that leverages the simultaneous activity of many OFC neurons recorded during the performance of a sequential two-alternative economic choice task in behaving monkeys. Preliminary analyses suggest two distinct modes of choice-predictive signal in OFC neurons. One mode depends on a subjective value signal encoded by ensembles of many OFC neurons; and the second depends on single neurons that appear to represent the upcoming choice in binary fashion (i.e. without reference to value). This suggests that the primate OFC contains a multitude of choice-related signals that may contribute to the decision process.


Recommended readings:

For an intro to my work, a recently published study in eNeuro: Overt Attention toward Appetitive Cues Enhances Their Subjective Value, Independent of Orbitofrontal Cortex Activity

For a more general background, a classic paper on neural activity in decision-making: A relationship between behavioral choice and the visual responses of neurons in macaque MT, by Britten KH, Newsome WT, Shadlen MN, Celebrini S, Movshon JA.