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Human processing of behaviorally relevant and irrelevant absence of expected rewards: a high-resolution ERP study

Published in PLOS ONE. 2011, vol. 6, no. 1, p. e16173
Abstract Acute lesions of the posterior medial orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) in humans may induce a state of reality confusion marked by confabulation, disorientation, and currently inappropriate actions. This clinical state is strongly associated with an inability to abandon previously valid anticipations, that is, extinction capacity. In healthy subjects, the filtering of memories according to their relation with ongoing reality is associated with activity in posterior medial OFC (area 13) and electrophysiologically expressed at 220-300 ms. These observations indicate that the human OFC also functions as a generic reality monitoring system. For this function, it is presumably more important for the OFC to evaluate the current behavioral appropriateness of anticipations rather than their hedonic value. In the present study, we put this hypothesis to the test. Participants performed a reversal learning task with intermittent absence of reward delivery. High-density evoked potential analysis showed that the omission of expected reward induced a specific electrocortical response in trials signaling the necessity to abandon the hitherto reward predicting choice, but not when omission of reward had no such connotation. This processing difference occurred at 200-300 ms. Source estimation using inverse solution analysis indicated that it emanated from the posterior medial OFC. We suggest that the human brain uses this signal from the OFC to keep thought and behavior in phase with reality.
Keywords AdultBehavior/physiologyChoice Behavior/physiologyEvoked Potentials/physiologyExtinction, Psychological/physiologyFemaleHumansMalePrefrontal Cortex/physiologyReality TestingReversal Learning/physiologyRewardYoung Adult
PMID: 21298049
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Research group Amnésie (289)
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NAHUM, Louis, GABRIEL, Damien, SCHNIDER, Armin. Human processing of behaviorally relevant and irrelevant absence of expected rewards: a high-resolution ERP study. In: PLOS ONE, 2011, vol. 6, n° 1, p. e16173. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:25332

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Deposited on : 2013-01-10

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