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Differential coding of uncertain reward in rat insular and orbitofrontal cortex.


ABSTRACT: Anterior insular and orbitofrontal cortex (AIC and OFC, respectively) are known to play important roles in decision making under risk. However, risk-related AIC neural activity has not been investigated and it is controversial whether the rodent OFC conveys genuine risk signals. To address these issues, we examined AIC and OFC neuronal activity in rats responding to five distinct auditory cues predicting water reward with different probabilities. Both structures conveyed significant neural signals for reward, value and risk, with value and risk signals conjunctively coded. However, value signals were stronger and appeared earlier in the OFC, and many risk-coding OFC neurons responded only to the cue predicting certain (100%) reward. Also, AIC neurons tended to increase their activity for a prolonged time following a negative outcome and according to previously expected value. These results show that both the AIC and OFC convey neural signals related to reward uncertainty, but in different ways. The OFC might play an important role in encoding certain reward-biased, risk-modulated subjective value, whereas the AIC might convey prolonged negative outcome and disappointment signals.

SUBMITTER: Jo S 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4823699 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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