Rapid Processing of Both Reward Probability and Reward Uncertainty in the Human Anterior Cingulate Cortex

Rongjun Yu, Wu Zhou, Xiaolin Zhou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Reward probability and uncertainty are two fundamental parameters of decision making. Whereas reward probability indicates the prospect of winning, reward uncertainty, measured as the variance of probability, indicates the degree of risk. Several lines of evidence have suggested that the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) plays an important role in reward processing. What is lacking is a quantitative analysis of the encoding of reward probability and uncertainty in the human ACC. In this study, we addressed this issue by analyzing the feedback-related negativity (FRN), an event-related potential (ERP) component that reflects the ACC activity, in a simple gambling task in which reward probability and uncertainty were parametrically manipulated through predicting cues. Results showed that at the outcome evaluation phase, while both win and loss-related FRN amplitudes increased as the probability of win or loss decreased, only the win-related FRN was modulated by reward uncertainty. This study demonstrates the rapid encoding of reward probability and uncertainty in the human ACC and offers new insights into the functions of the ACC.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere29633
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume6
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2011

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