During value-based decision making, we often evaluate the value of each option sequentially by shifting our attention, even when the options are presented simultaneously. The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) has been suggested to encode value during value-based decision making. Yet it is not known how its activity is modulated by attention shifts. We investigated this question by employing a passive viewing task that allowed us to disentangle effects of attention, value, choice and eye movement. We found that the attention modulated OFC activity through a winner-take-all mechanism. When we attracted the monkeys' attention covertly, the OFC neuronal activity reflected the reward value of the newly attended cue. The shift of attention could be explained by a normalization model. Our results strongly argue for the hypothesis that the OFC neuronal activity represents the value of the attended item. They provide important insights toward understanding the OFC's role in value-based decision making.
- Tianming Yang
- Tianming Yang
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All experimental procedures were approved by the Animal Care Committee of Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ER-SIBS-221501P). All surgeries were performed under aseptic conditions. Monkeys were sedated with ketamine hydrochloride (5-15 mg/kg, i.m.), and anesthesia was then induced and maintained with isoflurane gas (1.5-2%, to effect). Every effort was made to minimize suffering.
- Joni Wallis, Reviewing Editor, University of California, Berkeley, United States
- Received: August 24, 2017
- Accepted: March 12, 2018
- Accepted Manuscript published: March 13, 2018 (version 1)
© 2018, Xie et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.