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Functional connectivity with ventromedial prefrontal cortex reflects subjective value for social rewards

Smith, David V. and Clithero, John A. and Boltuck, Sarah E. and Huettel, Scott A. (2014) Functional connectivity with ventromedial prefrontal cortex reflects subjective value for social rewards. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9 (12). pp. 2017-2025. ISSN 1749-5016. PMCID PMC4249475.

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According to many studies, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) encodes the subjective value of disparate rewards on a common scale. Yet, a host of other reward factors—likely represented outside of VMPFC—must be integrated to construct such signals for valuation. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we tested whether the interactions between posterior VMPFC and functionally connected brain regions predict subjective value. During fMRI scanning, participants rated the attractiveness of unfamiliar faces. We found that activation in dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, anterior VMPFC and caudate increased with higher attractiveness ratings. Using data from a post-scan task in which participants spent money to view attractive faces, we quantified each individual’s subjective value for attractiveness. We found that connectivity between posterior VMPFC and regions frequently modulated by social information—including the temporal-parietal junction (TPJ) and middle temporal gyrus—was correlated with individual differences in subjective value. Crucially, these additional regions explained unique variation in subjective value beyond that extracted from value regions alone. These findings indicate not only that posterior VMPFC interacts with additional brain regions during valuation, but also that these additional regions carry information employed to construct the subjective value for social reward.

Item Type:Article
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Additional Information:© 2014 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press. Received 23 April 2013; Revised 4 December 2013; Accepted 10 January 2014; Advance Access publication 3 February 2014. We thank Dominic Fareri and Jacob Young for helpful comments on previous drafts. This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health [National Research Service Award F31-086248 to D.V.S.]; the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences [Incubator Award to S.A.H.].
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIH Predoctoral FellowshipF31-086248
Duke Institute for Brain SciencesUNSPECIFIED
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:valuation; faces; connectivity; social reward; VMPFC
Issue or Number:12
PubMed Central ID:PMC4249475
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150320-153800431
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Official Citation:David V. Smith, John A. Clithero, Sarah E. Boltuck, and Scott A. Huettel Functional connectivity with ventromedial prefrontal cortex reflects subjective value for social rewards Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci (2014) 9 (12): 2017-2025 first published online February 3, 2014 doi:10.1093/scan/nsu005
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:55951
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:20 Mar 2015 22:57
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 08:10

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