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Anterior insula reflects surprise in value-based decision-making and perception

Pfeuffer, Adrien
Einhäuser, Wolfgang
Published in NeuroImage. 2020, vol. 210, p. 13
Abstract The brain has been theorized to employ inferential processes to overcome the problem of uncertainty. Inference is thought to underlie neural processes, including in disparate domains such as value-based decision-making and perception. Value-based decision-making commonly involves deliberation, a time-consuming process that requires conscious consideration of decision variables. Perception, by contrast, is thought to be automatic and effortless. Both processes may call on a general neural system to resolve for uncertainty however. We addressed this question by directly comparing uncertainty signals in visual perception and an economic task using fMRI. We presented the same individuals with different versions of a bi-stable figure (Necker’s cube) and with a gambling task during fMRI acquisition. We experimentally varied uncertainty, either on perceptual state or financial outcome. We found that inferential errors indexed by a formal account of surprise in the gambling task yielded BOLD responses in the anterior insula, in line with earlier findings. Moreover, we found perceptual uncertainty and surprise in the Necker Cube task yielded similar responses in the anterior insula. These results suggest that uncertainty, irrespective of domain, correlates to a common brain region, the anterior insula. These findings provide empirical evidence that the brain interacts with its environment through inferential processes.
Keywords InsulaDecision-makingUncertaintyInferenceFMRINecker cube
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LOUED, Leyla et al. Anterior insula reflects surprise in value-based decision-making and perception. In: NeuroImage, 2020, vol. 210, p. 13. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.116549 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:129754

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Deposited on : 2020-01-30

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