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Nature. 1996 Aug 15;382(6592):629-32.

Reward expectancy in primate prefrontal neurons.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neuroscience, Japan.


The prefrontal cortex is important in the organization of goal-directed behaviour. When animals are trained to work for a particular goal or reward, reward 'expectancy' is processed by prefrontal neurons. Recent studies of the prefrontal cortex have concentrated on the role of working memory in the control of behaviour. In spatial delayed-response tasks, neurons in the prefrontal cortex show activity changes during the delay period between presentation of the cue and the reward, with some of the neurons being spatially specific (that is, responses vary with the cue position). Here I report that the delay activity in prefrontal neurons is dependent also on the particular reward received for the behavioural response, and to the way the reward is given. It seems that the prefrontal cortex may monitor the outcome of goal-directed behaviour.

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