What's better for me? Fundamental role for lateral habenula in promoting subjective decision biases

Nat Neurosci. 2014 Jan;17(1):33-5. doi: 10.1038/nn.3587. Epub 2013 Nov 24.


The lateral habenula (LHb) is believed to convey an aversive or 'anti-reward' signal, but its contribution to reward-related action selection is unknown. We found that LHb inactivation abolished choice biases, making rats indifferent when choosing between rewards associated with different subjective costs and magnitudes, but not larger or smaller rewards of equal cost. Thus, instead of serving as an aversion center, the evolutionarily conserved LHb acts as a preference center that is integral for expressing subjective decision biases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Baclofen / pharmacology
  • Bias*
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology*
  • Decision Making / drug effects
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Extinction, Psychological
  • Functional Laterality
  • GABA Agonists / pharmacology
  • Habenula / physiology*
  • Male
  • Muscimol / pharmacology
  • Probability Learning
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Reinforcement Schedule
  • Reward*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • GABA Agonists
  • Muscimol
  • Baclofen