Date of this Version
The Journal of Neuroscience
Recent work in neuroeconomics has shown that regions in orbitofrontal and medial prefrontal cortex encode the subjective value of different options during choice. However, these electrophysiological and neuroimaging studies cannot demonstrate whether such signals are necessary for value-maximizing choices. Here we used a paradigm developed in experimental economics to empirically measure and quantify violations of utility theory in humans with damage to the ventromedial frontal lobe (VMF). We show that people with such damage are more likely to make choices that violate the generalized axiom of revealed preference, which is the one necessary and sufficient condition for choices to be consistent with value maximization. These results demonstrate that the VMF plays a critical role in value-maximizing choice.
This article has been released by the publisher as Open Access under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.
Date Posted: 26 July 2017
This document has been peer reviewed.