Neural Activities Underlying the Feedback Express Salience Prediction Errors for Appetitive and Aversive Stimuli

Sci Rep. 2016 Oct 3;6:34032. doi: 10.1038/srep34032.


Feedback information is essential for us to adapt appropriately to the environment. The feedback-related negativity (FRN), a frontocentral negative deflection after the delivery of feedback, has been found to be larger for outcomes that are worse than expected, and it reflects a reward prediction error derived from the midbrain dopaminergic projections to the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), as stated in reinforcement learning theory. In contrast, the prediction of response-outcome (PRO) model claims that the neural activity in the mediofrontal cortex (mPFC), especially the ACC, is sensitive to the violation of expectancy, irrespective of the valence of feedback. Additionally, increasing evidence has demonstrated significant activities in the striatum, anterior insula and occipital lobe for unexpected outcomes independently of their valence. Thus, the neural mechanism of the feedback remains under dispute. Here, we investigated the feedback with monetary reward and electrical pain shock in one task via functional magnetic resonance imaging. The results revealed significant prediction-error-related activities in the bilateral fusiform gyrus, right middle frontal gyrus and left cingulate gyrus for both money and pain. This implies that some regions underlying the feedback may signal a salience prediction error rather than a reward prediction error.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't