Recent accounts have proposed that orbitofrontal cerebral cortex mediates the control of behavior based on emotional feedback and its somatic correlates. Here, we describe the performance of a patient with circumscribed damage to orbitofrontal cortex during a task that requires switching between sensory-motor mappings, contingent on the occurrence of positive and negative reward feedbacks. In this test, normal subjects and other patients with prefrontal damage show an increase in latencies for eye movements towards locations at which a negative feedback was presented on the preceding trial. In contrast, our patient does not show this reward-dependent inhibition of return effect on saccades. She was also found to make an increased rate of ocular refixations during visual search and used a disorganized search strategy in a token foraging task. These findings suggest that orbital regions of the prefrontal cortex mediate an inhibitory effect on actions directed towards locations that have been subject to negative reinforcement. Further, this mechanism seems to play a role in controlling natural search and foraging behavior. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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