Adult age differences in frontostriatal representation of prediction error but not reward outcome

Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2014 Jun;14(2):672-82. doi: 10.3758/s13415-014-0297-4.

Abstract

Emerging evidence from decision neuroscience suggests that although younger and older adults show similar frontostriatal representations of reward magnitude, older adults often show deficits in feedback-driven reinforcement learning. In the present study, healthy adults completed reward-based tasks that did or did not depend on probabilistic learning, while undergoing functional neuroimaging. We observed reductions in the frontostriatal representation of prediction errors during probabilistic learning in older adults. In contrast, we found evidence for stability across adulthood in the representation of reward outcome in a task that did not require learning. Together, the results identify changes across adulthood in the dynamic coding of relational representations of feedback, in spite of preserved reward sensitivity in old age. Overall, the results suggest that the neural representation of prediction error, but not reward outcome, is reduced in old age. These findings reveal a potential dissociation between cognition and motivation with age and identify a potential mechanism for explaining changes in learning-dependent decision making in old adulthood.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Corpus Striatum / blood supply
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / blood supply
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Learning
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / blood supply
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reward*
  • Time Factors

Substances

  • Oxygen