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Neuron. 2002 Oct 10;36(2):265-84.

Neural economics and the biological substrates of valuation.

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  • 1Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, Human NeuroImaging Lab, Division of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, 1 Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


A recent flurry of neuroimaging and decision-making experiments in humans, when combined with single-unit data from orbitofrontal cortex, suggests major additions to current models of reward processing. We review these data and models and use them to develop a specific computational relationship between the value of a predictor and the future rewards or punishments that it promises. The resulting computational model, the predictor-valuation model (PVM), is shown to anticipate a class of single-unit neural responses in orbitofrontal and striatal neurons. The model also suggests how neural responses in the orbitofrontal-striatal circuit may support the conversion of disparate types of future rewards into a kind of internal currency, that is, a common scale used to compare the valuation of future behavioral acts or stimuli.

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