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Decision ambiguity is mediated by a late positive potential originating from cingulate cortex

Sun, Sai and Zhen, Shanshan and Fu, Zhongzheng and Wu, Daw-An and Shimojo, Shinsuke and Adolphs, Ralph and Yu, Rongjun and Wang, Shuo (2017) Decision ambiguity is mediated by a late positive potential originating from cingulate cortex. NeuroImage, 157 . pp. 400-414. ISSN 1053-8119. PMCID PMC6911707. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.06.003.

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People often make decisions in the face of ambiguous information, but it remains unclear how ambiguity is represented in the brain. We used three types of ambiguous stimuli and combined EEG and fMRI to examine the neural representation of perceptual decisions under ambiguity. We identified a late positive potential, the LPP, which differentiated levels of ambiguity, and which was specifically associated with behavioral judgments about choices that were ambiguous, rather than passive perception of ambiguous stimuli. Mediation analyses together with two further control experiments confirmed that the LPP was generated only when decisions are made (not during mere perception of ambiguous stimuli), and only when those decisions involved choices on a dimension that is ambiguous. A further control experiment showed that a stronger LPP arose in the presence of ambiguous stimuli compared to when only unambiguous stimuli were present. Source modeling suggested that the LPP originated from multiple loci in cingulate cortex, a finding we further confirmed using fMRI and fMRI-guided ERP source prediction. Taken together, our findings argue for a role of an LPP originating from cingulate cortex in encoding decisions based on task-relevant perceptual ambiguity, a process that may in turn influence confidence judgment, response conflict, and error correction.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Fu, Zhongzheng0000-0002-2572-6284
Wu, Daw-An0000-0003-4296-3369
Shimojo, Shinsuke0000-0002-1290-5232
Adolphs, Ralph0000-0002-8053-9692
Yu, Rongjun0000-0003-0123-1524
Wang, Shuo0000-0003-2562-0225
Additional Information:© 2017 Elsevier Inc. Received 1 January 2017, Revised 5 May 2017, Accepted 1 June 2017, Available online 9 June 2017. We thank Xiaojing Wu and Min Pu for collecting some of the data. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31371128) and MOE Tier 1 (R-581-000-191-112) to R.Y., the Scientific Research Foundation of Graduate School of South China Normal University (2015wkxm02) and China Scholarship Council (201506750027) to S. Sun, and an NIMH Conte Center (P50MH094258) to R.A. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Author Contributions: S.Sun, R.A., R.Y., and S.W. designed experiments. S.Sun, S.Z., and S.W. performed research. S.Sun, S.Z., Z.F., D.W., R.Y. and S.W. analyzed data. S.Sun, S.Shimojo, R.A., R.Y., and S.W. wrote the paper. All authors discussed the results and contributed toward the manuscript. The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Natural Science Foundation of China31371128
Ministry of Education (Taipei)R-581-000-191-112
South China Normal University2015wkxm02
China Scholarship Council201506750027
Subject Keywords:Late Positive Potential; Perceptual Ambiguity; Face; Decision; Cingulate Cortex
PubMed Central ID:PMC6911707
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170619-082945637
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Sai Sun, Shanshan Zhen, Zhongzheng Fu, Daw-An Wu, Shinsuke Shimojo, Ralph Adolphs, Rongjun Yu, Shuo Wang, Decision ambiguity is mediated by a late positive potential originating from cingulate cortex, NeuroImage, Volume 157, 15 August 2017, Pages 400-414, ISSN 1053-8119,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:78319
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:19 Jun 2017 15:53
Last Modified:16 Feb 2022 23:04

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