Dissociating the role of the orbitofrontal cortex and the striatum in the computation of goal values and prediction errors

J Neurosci. 2008 May 28;28(22):5623-30. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1309-08.2008.


To make sound economic decisions, the brain needs to compute several different value-related signals. These include goal values that measure the predicted reward that results from the outcome generated by each of the actions under consideration, decision values that measure the net value of taking the different actions, and prediction errors that measure deviations from individuals' previous reward expectations. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and a novel decision-making paradigm to dissociate the neural basis of these three computations. Our results show that they are supported by different neural substrates: goal values are correlated with activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex, decision values are correlated with activity in the central orbitofrontal cortex, and prediction errors are correlated with activity in the ventral striatum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Corpus Striatum / blood supply
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Prefrontal Cortex / blood supply
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reward*
  • Task Performance and Analysis


  • Oxygen