Short-term reward experience biases inference despite dissociable neural correlates
Number of pages
SourceNature Communications, 8, (2017), article 1690
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectAction, intention, and motor control; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 2: Perception, Action and Control
Optimal decision-making employs short-term rewards and abstract long-term information based on which of these is deemed relevant. Employing short- vs. long-term information is associated with different learning mechanisms, yet neural evidence showing that these two are dissociable is lacking. Here we demonstrate that long-term, inference-based beliefs are biased by short-term reward experiences and that dissociable brain regions facilitate both types of learning. Long-term inferences are associated with dorsal striatal and frontopolar cortex activity, while short-term rewards engage the ventral striatum. Stronger concurrent representation of reward signals by mediodorsal striatum and frontopolar cortex correlates with less biased, more optimal individual long-term inference. Moreover, dynamic modulation of activity in a cortical cognitive control network and the medial striatum is associated with trial-by-trial control of biases in belief updating. This suggests that counteracting the processing of optimally to-be-ignored short-term rewards and cortical suppression of associated reward-signals, determines long-term learning success and failure.
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