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Elife. 2016 May 12;5. pii: e15192. doi: 10.7554/eLife.15192.

Instructed knowledge shapes feedback-driven aversive learning in striatum and orbitofrontal cortex, but not the amygdala.

Atlas LY1,2, Doll BB3,4, Li J5,6, Daw ND7, Phelps EA3,8,9.

Author information

1
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, United States.
2
National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Bayview, United States.
3
Center for Neural Sciences, New York University, New York, United States.
4
Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, United States.
5
Department of Psychology, Beijing Key Laboratory of Behavior and Mental Health, Peking University, Beijing, China.
6
PKU-IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Peking University, Beijing, China.
7
Department of Psychology, Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, United States.
8
Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, United States.
9
Nathan Kline Institute, Orangeburg, United States.

Abstract

Socially-conveyed rules and instructions strongly shape expectations and emotions. Yet most neuroscientific studies of learning consider reinforcement history alone, irrespective of knowledge acquired through other means. We examined fear conditioning and reversal in humans to test whether instructed knowledge modulates the neural mechanisms of feedback-driven learning. One group was informed about contingencies and reversals. A second group learned only from reinforcement. We combined quantitative models with functional magnetic resonance imaging and found that instructions induced dissociations in the neural systems of aversive learning. Responses in striatum and orbitofrontal cortex updated with instructions and correlated with prefrontal responses to instructions. Amygdala responses were influenced by reinforcement similarly in both groups and did not update with instructions. Results extend work on instructed reward learning and reveal novel dissociations that have not been observed with punishments or rewards. Findings support theories of specialized threat-detection and may have implications for fear maintenance in anxiety.

KEYWORDS:

FMRI; amygdala; fear conditioning; human; learning; neuroscience; orbitofrontal; reversal

PMID:
27171199
PMCID:
PMC4907691
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.15192
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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