Neural economics and the biological substrates of valuation

Neuron. 2002 Oct 10;36(2):265-84. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(02)00974-1.


A recent flurry of neuroimaging and decision-making experiments in humans, when combined with single-unit data from orbitofrontal cortex, suggests major additions to current models of reward processing. We review these data and models and use them to develop a specific computational relationship between the value of a predictor and the future rewards or punishments that it promises. The resulting computational model, the predictor-valuation model (PVM), is shown to anticipate a class of single-unit neural responses in orbitofrontal and striatal neurons. The model also suggests how neural responses in the orbitofrontal-striatal circuit may support the conversion of disparate types of future rewards into a kind of internal currency, that is, a common scale used to compare the valuation of future behavioral acts or stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology
  • Choice Behavior / physiology
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Reward*