Distinct roles of rodent orbitofrontal and medial prefrontal cortex in decision making

Neuron. 2010 May 13;66(3):449-60. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.03.033.


We investigated how different subregions of rodent prefrontal cortex contribute to value-based decision making, by comparing neural signals related to animal's choice, its outcome, and action value in orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of rats performing a dynamic two-armed bandit task. Neural signals for upcoming action selection arose in the mPFC, including the anterior cingulate cortex, only immediately before the behavioral manifestation of animal's choice, suggesting that rodent prefrontal cortex is not involved in advanced action planning. Both OFC and mPFC conveyed signals related to the animal's past choices and their outcomes over multiple trials, but neural signals for chosen value and reward prediction error were more prevalent in the OFC. Our results suggest that rodent OFC and mPFC serve distinct roles in value-based decision making and that the OFC plays a prominent role in updating the values of outcomes expected from chosen actions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Cues
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reinforcement, Psychology