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Neuroimage. 2003 Feb;18(2):263-72.

A region of mesial prefrontal cortex tracks monetarily rewarding outcomes: characterization with rapid event-related fMRI.

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1
Department of Psychology, Building 420, Jordan Hall, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2130, USA. knutson@psych.stanford.edu

Abstract

The function of the mesial prefrontal cortex (MPFC: including Brodman areas 10/12/32) remains an enigma. Current theories suggest a role in representing internal information, including emotional introspection, autonomic control, and a "default state" of semantic processing. Recent evidence also suggests that parts of this region may also play a role in processing reward outcomes. In this study, we investigated the possibility that a region of the MPFC would be preferentially recruited by monetary reward outcomes using a parametric monetary incentive delay (MID) task. Twelve healthy volunteers participated in functional magnetic resonance scans while playing the MID task. Group analyses indicated that while the ventral striatum was recruited by anticipation of monetary reward, a region of the MPFC instead responded to rewarding monetary outcomes. Specifically, volume-of-interest analyses indicated that when volunteers received $5.00 after anticipating a $5.00 win, MPFC activity increased, whereas when volunteers did not receive $5.00 after anticipating a $5.00 win, MPFC activity decreased, relative to outcomes with no incentive value. These findings suggest that in the context of processing monetary rewards, a region of the MPFC preferentially tracks rewarding outcomes.

PMID:
12595181
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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