Effects of emotional preferences on value-based decision making are mediated by metalizing not reward networks

  • Evans S
  • Fleming S
  • Dolan R
 et al. 
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Real-world decision-making often involves social considerations. Consequently, the social value of stimuli can induce preferences in choice behavior. However, it is unknown how financial and social values are integrated in the brain. Here, we investigated how smiling and angry face stimuli interacted with financial reward feedback in a stochastically-rewarded decision-making task. Subjects reliably preferred the smiling faces despite equivalent reward feedback, demonstrating a socially driven bias. We fit a Bayesian reinforcement learning model to factor the effects of financial rewards and emotion preferences in individual subjects, and regressed model predictions on the trial-by-trial fMRI signal. Activity in the sub-callosal cingulate and the ventral striatum, both involved in reward learning, correlated with financial reward feedback, whereas the differential contribution of social value activated dorsal temporo-parietal junction and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, previously proposed as components of a mentalizing network. We conclude that the impact of social stimuli on value-based decision processes is mediated by effects in brain regions partially separable from classical reward circuitry.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Brain
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain: physiology
  • Cognition
  • Cognition: physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Social Behavior

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  • Simon Evans

  • Stephen M Fleming

  • Raymond J Dolan

  • Bruno B Averbeck

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