Human decision-making is mainly driven by two fundamental learning processes: a slow, deliberative, goal-directed model-based process that maps out the potential outcomes of all options and a rapid habitual model-free process that enables reflexive repetition of previously successful choices. Although many model-informed neuroimaging studies have examined the neural correlates of model-based and model-free learning, the concordant activity among these two processes remains unclear. We used quantitative meta-analyses of functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments to identify the concordant activity pertaining to model-based and model-free learning over a range of reward-related paradigms. We found that: 1) both processes yielded concordant ventral striatum activity, 2) model-based learning activated the medial prefrontal cortex and orbital frontal cortex, and 3) model-free learning specifically activated the left globus pallidus and right caudate head. Our findings suggest that model-free and model-based decision making engage overlapping yet distinct neural regions. These stereotaxic maps improve our understanding of how deliberative goal-directed and reflexive habitual learning are implemented in the brain.
Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.