Two spatiotemporally distinct value systems shape reward-based learning in the human brain

Elsa Fouragnan, Chris Retzler, Karen Mullinger, Marios G. Philiastides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Avoiding repeated mistakes and learning to reinforce rewarding decisions is critical for human survival and adaptive actions. Yet, the neural underpinnings of the value systems that encode different decision-outcomes remain elusive. Here coupling single-trial electroencephalography with simultaneously acquired functional magnetic resonance imaging, we uncover the spatiotemporal dynamics of two separate but interacting value systems encoding decision-outcomes. Consistent with a role in regulating alertness and switching behaviours, an early system is activated only by negative outcomes and engages arousal-related and motor-preparatory brain structures. Consistent with a role in reward-based learning, a later system differentially suppresses or activates regions of the human reward network in response to negative and positive outcomes, respectively. Following negative outcomes, the early system interacts and downregulates the late system, through a thalamic interaction with the ventral striatum. Critically, the strength of this coupling predicts participants' switching behaviour and avoidance learning, directly implicating the thalamostriatal pathway in reward-based learning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8107
JournalNature Communications
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sep 2015

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Reward
learning
brain
Brain
Learning
Electroencephalography
Avoidance Learning
alertness
arousal
Arousal
electroencephalography
avoidance
Down-Regulation
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
magnetic resonance
coding
Survival
interactions

Cite this

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abstract = "Avoiding repeated mistakes and learning to reinforce rewarding decisions is critical for human survival and adaptive actions. Yet, the neural underpinnings of the value systems that encode different decision-outcomes remain elusive. Here coupling single-trial electroencephalography with simultaneously acquired functional magnetic resonance imaging, we uncover the spatiotemporal dynamics of two separate but interacting value systems encoding decision-outcomes. Consistent with a role in regulating alertness and switching behaviours, an early system is activated only by negative outcomes and engages arousal-related and motor-preparatory brain structures. Consistent with a role in reward-based learning, a later system differentially suppresses or activates regions of the human reward network in response to negative and positive outcomes, respectively. Following negative outcomes, the early system interacts and downregulates the late system, through a thalamic interaction with the ventral striatum. Critically, the strength of this coupling predicts participants' switching behaviour and avoidance learning, directly implicating the thalamostriatal pathway in reward-based learning.",
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Two spatiotemporally distinct value systems shape reward-based learning in the human brain. / Fouragnan, Elsa; Retzler, Chris; Mullinger, Karen; Philiastides, Marios G.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 6, 8107, 08.09.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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