Specialized areas for value updating and goal selection in the primate orbitofrontal cortex

Elife. 2015 Dec 17;4:e11695. doi: 10.7554/eLife.11695.


The macaque orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is essential for selecting goals based on current, updated values of expected reward outcomes. As monkeys consume a given type of reward to satiety, its value diminishes, and OFC damage impairs the ability to shift goal choices away from devalued outcomes. To examine the contributions of OFC's components to goal selection, we reversibly inactivated either its anterior (area 11) or posterior (area 13) parts. We found that neurons in area 13 must be active during the selective satiation procedure to enable the updating of outcome valuations. After this updating has occurred, however, area 13 is not needed to select goals based on this knowledge. In contrast, neurons in area 11 do not need to be active during the value-updating process. Instead, inactivation of this area during choices causes an impairment. These findings demonstrate selective and complementary specializations within the OFC.

Keywords: decision making; goal neglect; macaque monkey; neuroscience; reinforcer devaluation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Choice Behavior
  • Decision Making
  • Goals*
  • Macaca mulatta*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Satiation*