Neural correlates of evidence accumulation during value-based decisions revealed via simultaneous EEG-fMRI

Nat Commun. 2017 Jun 9;8:15808. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15808.


Current computational accounts posit that, in simple binary choices, humans accumulate evidence in favour of the different alternatives before committing to a decision. Neural correlates of this accumulating activity have been found during perceptual decisions in parietal and prefrontal cortex; however the source of such activity in value-based choices remains unknown. Here we use simultaneous EEG-fMRI and computational modelling to identify EEG signals reflecting an accumulation process and demonstrate that the within- and across-trial variability in these signals explains fMRI responses in posterior-medial frontal cortex. Consistent with its role in integrating the evidence prior to reaching a decision, this region also exhibits task-dependent coupling with the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the striatum, brain areas known to encode the subjective value of the decision alternatives. These results further endorse the proposition of an evidence accumulation process during value-based decisions in humans and implicate the posterior-medial frontal cortex in this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Choice Behavior
  • Decision Making*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Prefrontal Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Young Adult