Economic choice proceeds from evaluation, in which we contemplate options, to selection, in which we weigh options and choose one. These stages must be differentiated so that decision makers do not proceed to selection before evaluation is complete. We examined responses of neurons in two core reward regions, orbitofrontal (OFC) and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), during two-option choice with asynchronous offer presentation. Our data suggest that neurons selective during the first (presumed evaluation) and second (presumed comparison and selection) offer epochs come from a single pool. Stage transition is accompanied by a shift toward orthogonality in the low-dimensional population response manifold. Nonetheless, the relative position of each option in driving responses in the population subspace is preserved. The orthogonalization we observe supports the hypothesis that the transition from evaluation to selection leads to reorganization of response subspace and suggests a mechanism by which value-related signals are prevented from prematurely driving choice.
- covariance matrix
- orbitofrontal cortex
- ventromedial prefrontal cortex
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural