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Associative learning of social value.

Behrens TE, Hunt LT, Woolrich MW, Rushworth MF - Nature (2008)

Bottom Line: Two neighbouring divisions of the anterior cingulate cortex were central to learning about social and reward-based information, and for determining the extent to which each source of information guides behaviour.When making a decision, however, the information learnt using these parallel streams was combined within ventromedial prefrontal cortex.These findings suggest that human social valuation can be realized by means of the same associative processes previously established for learning other, simpler, features of the environment.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: FMRIB Centre, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK. behrens@fmrib.ox.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
Our decisions are guided by information learnt from our environment. This information may come via personal experiences of reward, but also from the behaviour of social partners. Social learning is widely held to be distinct from other forms of learning in its mechanism and neural implementation; it is often assumed to compete with simpler mechanisms, such as reward-based associative learning, to drive behaviour. Recently, neural signals have been observed during social exchange reminiscent of signals seen in studies of associative learning. Here we demonstrate that social information may be acquired using the same associative processes assumed to underlie reward-based learning. We find that key computational variables for learning in the social and reward domains are processed in a similar fashion, but in parallel neural processing streams. Two neighbouring divisions of the anterior cingulate cortex were central to learning about social and reward-based information, and for determining the extent to which each source of information guides behaviour. When making a decision, however, the information learnt using these parallel streams was combined within ventromedial prefrontal cortex. These findings suggest that human social valuation can be realized by means of the same associative processes previously established for learning other, simpler, features of the environment.

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Combination of expected value of chosen option in VMPFC. (a) Activation for the combination (mean contrast) of experience-based probability during CUE and SUGGEST phases, and advice-based probability during SUGGEST phase (thresholded at Z>3.1, p<0.005 cluster-corrected for VMPFC). These phases represent the times at which subjects had these probabilities available to them (see supplementary information and figure S4). (b) Correlation between effect of outcome-based probability in VMPFC during the decision and effect of outcome volatility in ACCs during MONITOR (R = 0.6119, p<0.0002). (c) Correlation between effect of confederate-based probability in VMPFC during the decision and effect of confederate volatility in ACCs during MONITOR (R = 0.6119, p<0.0002).
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Figure 4: Combination of expected value of chosen option in VMPFC. (a) Activation for the combination (mean contrast) of experience-based probability during CUE and SUGGEST phases, and advice-based probability during SUGGEST phase (thresholded at Z>3.1, p<0.005 cluster-corrected for VMPFC). These phases represent the times at which subjects had these probabilities available to them (see supplementary information and figure S4). (b) Correlation between effect of outcome-based probability in VMPFC during the decision and effect of outcome volatility in ACCs during MONITOR (R = 0.6119, p<0.0002). (c) Correlation between effect of confederate-based probability in VMPFC during the decision and effect of confederate volatility in ACCs during MONITOR (R = 0.6119, p<0.0002).

Mentions: We computed two probabilities of reward on the subject’s chosen option; one based only on experience and one based only on confederate advice. BOLD Signal in the VMPFC was significantly correlated with both probabilities (figures 4a and S4). However, there was subject variability in whether the VMPFC signal better reflected the reward probability based on outcome history or on social information. The extent to which the VMPFC data reflected each source of information (at the time of the decision) was predicted by the ACCs/ACCg response to outcome/social volatility (at the time when the outcomes were witnessed) (figure 4b,c).


Associative learning of social value.

Behrens TE, Hunt LT, Woolrich MW, Rushworth MF - Nature (2008)

Combination of expected value of chosen option in VMPFC. (a) Activation for the combination (mean contrast) of experience-based probability during CUE and SUGGEST phases, and advice-based probability during SUGGEST phase (thresholded at Z>3.1, p<0.005 cluster-corrected for VMPFC). These phases represent the times at which subjects had these probabilities available to them (see supplementary information and figure S4). (b) Correlation between effect of outcome-based probability in VMPFC during the decision and effect of outcome volatility in ACCs during MONITOR (R = 0.6119, p<0.0002). (c) Correlation between effect of confederate-based probability in VMPFC during the decision and effect of confederate volatility in ACCs during MONITOR (R = 0.6119, p<0.0002).
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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Figure 4: Combination of expected value of chosen option in VMPFC. (a) Activation for the combination (mean contrast) of experience-based probability during CUE and SUGGEST phases, and advice-based probability during SUGGEST phase (thresholded at Z>3.1, p<0.005 cluster-corrected for VMPFC). These phases represent the times at which subjects had these probabilities available to them (see supplementary information and figure S4). (b) Correlation between effect of outcome-based probability in VMPFC during the decision and effect of outcome volatility in ACCs during MONITOR (R = 0.6119, p<0.0002). (c) Correlation between effect of confederate-based probability in VMPFC during the decision and effect of confederate volatility in ACCs during MONITOR (R = 0.6119, p<0.0002).
Mentions: We computed two probabilities of reward on the subject’s chosen option; one based only on experience and one based only on confederate advice. BOLD Signal in the VMPFC was significantly correlated with both probabilities (figures 4a and S4). However, there was subject variability in whether the VMPFC signal better reflected the reward probability based on outcome history or on social information. The extent to which the VMPFC data reflected each source of information (at the time of the decision) was predicted by the ACCs/ACCg response to outcome/social volatility (at the time when the outcomes were witnessed) (figure 4b,c).

Bottom Line: Two neighbouring divisions of the anterior cingulate cortex were central to learning about social and reward-based information, and for determining the extent to which each source of information guides behaviour.When making a decision, however, the information learnt using these parallel streams was combined within ventromedial prefrontal cortex.These findings suggest that human social valuation can be realized by means of the same associative processes previously established for learning other, simpler, features of the environment.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: FMRIB Centre, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK. behrens@fmrib.ox.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
Our decisions are guided by information learnt from our environment. This information may come via personal experiences of reward, but also from the behaviour of social partners. Social learning is widely held to be distinct from other forms of learning in its mechanism and neural implementation; it is often assumed to compete with simpler mechanisms, such as reward-based associative learning, to drive behaviour. Recently, neural signals have been observed during social exchange reminiscent of signals seen in studies of associative learning. Here we demonstrate that social information may be acquired using the same associative processes assumed to underlie reward-based learning. We find that key computational variables for learning in the social and reward domains are processed in a similar fashion, but in parallel neural processing streams. Two neighbouring divisions of the anterior cingulate cortex were central to learning about social and reward-based information, and for determining the extent to which each source of information guides behaviour. When making a decision, however, the information learnt using these parallel streams was combined within ventromedial prefrontal cortex. These findings suggest that human social valuation can be realized by means of the same associative processes previously established for learning other, simpler, features of the environment.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus