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Foraging under Competition: The Neural Basis of Input-Matching in Humans

Mobbs, Dean and Hassabis, Demis and Yu, Rongjun and Chu, Carlton and Rushworth, Matthew and Boorman, Erie and Dalgleish, Tim (2013) Foraging under Competition: The Neural Basis of Input-Matching in Humans. Journal of Neuroscience, 33 (23). pp. 9866-9872. ISSN 0270-6474. PMCID PMC3865496. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2238-12.2013.

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Input-matching is a key mechanism by which animals optimally distribute themselves across habitats to maximize net gains based on the changing input values of food supply rate and competition. To examine the neural systems that underlie this rule in humans, we created a continuous-input foraging task where subjects had to decide to stay or switch between two habitats presented on the left and right of the screen. The subject's decision to stay or switch was based on changing input values of reward-token supply rate and competition density. High density of competition or low-reward token rate was associated with decreased chance of winning. Therefore, subjects attempted to maximize their gains by switching to habitats that possessed low competition density and higher token rate. When it was increasingly disadvantageous to be in a habitat, we observed increased activity in brain regions that underlie preparatory motor actions, including the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and the supplementary motor area, as well as the insula, which we speculate may be involved in the conscious urge to switch habitats. Conversely, being in an advantageous habitat is associated with activity in the reward systems, namely the striatum and medial prefrontal cortex. Moreover, amygdala and dorsal putamen activity steered interindividual preferences in competition avoidance and pursuing reward. Our results suggest that input-matching decisions are made as a net function of activity in a distributed set of neural systems. Furthermore, we speculate that switching behaviors are related to individual differences in competition avoidance and reward drive.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Mobbs, Dean0000-0003-1175-3772
Yu, Rongjun0000-0003-0123-1524
Additional Information:© 2013 the authors. For the first six months after publication SfN’s license will be exclusive. Beginning six months after publication the Work will be made freely available to the public on SfN’s website to copy, distribute, or display under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license ( Received April 25, 2012; revised Jan. 19, 2013; accepted March 11, 2013. This work was funded by the United Kingdom Medical Research Council. We thank Peter Dayan, Johan Carlin, and Bernhard Staresina for their help and insightful comments. D.M. and D.H. contributed equally to this work.
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Medical Research Council (UK)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:23
PubMed Central ID:PMC3865496
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180305-142223649
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Official Citation:Foraging under Competition: The Neural Basis of Input-Matching in Humans Dean Mobbs, Demis Hassabis, Rongjun Yu, Carlton Chu, Matthew Rushworth, Erie Boorman, Tim Dalgleish Journal of Neuroscience 5 June 2013, 33 (23) 9866-9872; DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2238-12.2013
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:85105
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:05 Mar 2018 22:33
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:25

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