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Science. 2005 Dec 9;310(5754):1680-3.

Neural systems responding to degrees of uncertainty in human decision-making.

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  • 1Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, 228-77, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.

Abstract

Much is known about how people make decisions under varying levels of probability (risk). Less is known about the neural basis of decision-making when probabilities are uncertain because of missing information (ambiguity). In decision theory, ambiguity about probabilities should not affect choices. Using functional brain imaging, we show that the level of ambiguity in choices correlates positively with activation in the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex, and negatively with a striatal system. Moreover, striatal activity correlates positively with expected reward. Neurological subjects with orbitofrontal lesions were insensitive to the level of ambiguity and risk in behavioral choices. These data suggest a general neural circuit responding to degrees of uncertainty, contrary to decision theory.

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PMID:
16339445
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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