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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

October 2009, Vol. 21, No. 10, Pages 1956-1966
(doi: 10.1162/jocn.2008.21148)
© 2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Distinct Orbitofrontal Regions Encode Stimulus and Choice Valuation
Article PDF (341.44 KB)

The weak axiom of revealed preferences suggests that the value of an object can be understood through the simple examination of choices. Although this axiom has driven economic theory, the assumption of equation between value and choice is often violated. fMRI was used to decouple the processes associated with evaluating stimuli from evaluating one's actions. Whereas activity in left posterior areas of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) was associated with processing the objective value of stimuli, activity in medial anterior areas of the OFC was associated with accepting high value gambles and rejecting low value gambles; that is, making correct decisions. These data demonstrate that distinct areas of the OFC provide dissociated representations for use in adaptive decision-making and suggest an important processing distinction between the concepts of good/bad and right/wrong.