Recent hypotheses have posited that orbital frontal cortex (OFC) is important for using inferred consequences to guide behavior. Less clear is OFC's contribution to goal-directed or model-based behavior, where the decision to act is controlled by previous experience with the consequence or outcome. Investigating OFC's role in learning about changed outcomes separate from decision-making is not trivial and often the two are confounded. Here we adapted an incentive learning task to mice, where we investigated processes controlling experience-based outcome updating independent from inferred action control. We found chemogenetic OFC attenuation did not alter the ability to perceive motivational state-induced changes in outcome value but did prevent the experience-based updating of this change. Optogenetic inhibition of OFC excitatory neuron activity selectively when experiencing an outcome change disrupted the ability to update, leaving mice unable to infer the appropriate behavior. Our findings support a role for OFC in learning that controls decision-making.
Keywords: action control; mouse; neuroscience; orbital frontal cortex; value.
© 2018, Baltz et al.