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Neuroimaging studies of decision-making have generally related neural activity to objective measures (such as reward magnitude, probability or delay), despite choice preferences being subjective. However, economic theories posit that decision-makers behave as though different options have different subjective values. Here we use functional magnetic resonance imaging to show that neural activity in several brain regions—particularly the ventral striatum, medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex—tracks the revealed subjective value of delayed monetary rewards. This similarity provides unambiguous evidence that the subjective value of potential rewards is explicitly represented in the human brain.
Kable, J. W., & Glimcher, P. W. (2007). The Neural Correlated of Subjective Value During Intertemporal Choice. Nature Neuroscience, 10 1625-1633. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn2007
Date Posted: 06 December 2017
This document has been peer reviewed.