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Neural substrates of parallel devaluation-sensitive and devaluation-insensitive Pavlovian learning in humans

Pool, Eva R. and Pauli, Wolfgang M. and Cross, Logan and O'Doherty, John P. (2023) Neural substrates of parallel devaluation-sensitive and devaluation-insensitive Pavlovian learning in humans. . (Unpublished)

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Pavlovian learning depends on multiple and parallel associations leading to distinct classes of conditioned responses that vary in their flexibility following changes in the value of an associated outcome. Here, we aimed to differentiate brain areas involved in learning and encoding associations that are sensitive to changes in the value of an outcome from those that are not sensitive to such changes. To address this question, we combined a Pavlovian learning task with outcome devaluation, eye–tracking and functional magnetic resonance imaging. We used computational modeling to identify brain regions involved in learning stimulus-reward associations and stimulus–stimulus associations, by testing for brain areas correlating with reward–prediction errors and state-prediction errors, respectively. We found that, contrary to theoretical predictions about reward prediction errors being exclusively model–free, voxels correlating with reward prediction errors in the ventral striatum and subgenual anterior cingulate cortex were sensitive to devaluation. On the other hand, brain areas correlating with state prediction errors were found to be devaluation insensitive. In a supplementary analysis, we distinguished brain regions encoding predictions about outcome taste identity from those involved in encoding predictions about its expected spatial location. A subset of regions involved in taste identity predictions were devaluation sensitive while those involved in encoding predictions about spatial location were devaluation insensitive. These findings provide insights into the role of multiple associative mechanisms in the brain in mediating Pavlovian conditioned behavior – illustrating how distinct neural pathways can in parallel produce both devaluation sensitive and devaluation insensitive behaviors.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemCode and data
Pool, Eva R.0000-0001-5929-1007
Pauli, Wolfgang M.0000-0002-0966-0254
O'Doherty, John P.0000-0003-0016-3531
Additional Information:The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY 4.0 International license. The authors would like to thank Dr. Yoann Stussi for helpful discussions. This work was supported by an Ambizione research grant (project PZPGP1 193120) to ERP and a National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA040011) grant to JPOD. Code and Data availability. Code and data used to generate the figures and the results reported in this manuscript are available on the following repository: The authors have declared no competing interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)PZPGP1_193120
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20230316-182420000.31
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:120147
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:20 Mar 2023 20:23
Last Modified:20 Mar 2023 20:23

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