Transformation of stimulus value signals into motor commands during simple choice
Decision-making can be broken down into several component processes: assigning values to stimuli under consideration, selecting an option by comparing those values, and initiating motor responses to obtain the reward. Although much is known about the neural encoding of stimulus values and motor commands, little is known about the mechanisms through which stimulus values are compared, and the resulting decision is transmitted to motor systems. We investigated this process using human fMRI in a task where choices were indicated using the left or right hand. We found evidence consistent with the hypothesis that value signals are computed in the ventral medial prefrontal cortex, they are passed to regions of dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and intraparietal sulcus, implementing a comparison process, and the output of the comparator regions modulates activity in motor cortex to implement the choice. These results describe the network through which stimulus values are transformed into actions during a simple choice task.
Additional Information© 2011 National Academy of Sciences. Edited by William T. Newsome, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, and approved September 20, 2011 (received for review June 10, 2011). Published online before print October 17, 2011. We thank the Betty and Gordon Moore Foundation (C.F.C., J.P.O., and A.R.) for financial support as well as the National Science Foundation (A.R.). Author contributions: T.A.H., W.S., C.F.C., J.P.O., and A.R. designed research; T.A.H. performed research; T.A.H. and A.R. analyzed data; and T.A.H., W.S., C.F.C., J.P.O., and A.R. wrote the paper.
Published - Hare2011p16275P_Natl_Acad_Sci_Usa.pdf
Supplemental Material - pnas.201109322SI.pdf