Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Recent work on the role of the ACC in cognition has focused on choice difficulty, action value, risk avoidance, conflict resolution, and the value of exerting control among other factors. A main underlying question is what are the output signals of ACC, and relatedly, what is their effect on downstream cognitive processes? Here we propose a model of how ACC influences cognitive processing in other brain regions that choose actions. The model builds on the earlier Predicted Response Outcome model and suggests that ACC learns to represent specifically the states in which the potential costs or risks of an action are high, on both short and long timescales. It then uses those cost signals as a basis to bias decisions to minimize losses while maximizing gains. The model simulates both proactive and reactive control signals and accounts for a variety of empirical findings regarding value-based decision-making.