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Activation in the VTA and nucleus accumbens increases in anticipation of both gains and losses.

Carter RM, Macinnes JJ, Huettel SA, Adcock RA - Front Behav Neurosci (2009)

Bottom Line: To represent value for learning and decision making, the brain must encode information about both the motivational relevance and affective valence of anticipated outcomes.The nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) are thought to play key roles in representing these and other aspects of valuation.Here, we manipulated the valence (i.e., monetary gain or loss) and personal relevance (i.e., self-directed or charity-directed) of anticipated outcomes within a variant of the monetary incentive delay task.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University Durham, NC, USA.

ABSTRACT
To represent value for learning and decision making, the brain must encode information about both the motivational relevance and affective valence of anticipated outcomes. The nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) are thought to play key roles in representing these and other aspects of valuation. Here, we manipulated the valence (i.e., monetary gain or loss) and personal relevance (i.e., self-directed or charity-directed) of anticipated outcomes within a variant of the monetary incentive delay task. We scanned young-adult participants using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), utilizing imaging parameters targeted for the NAcc and VTA. For both self-directed and charity-directed trials, activation in the NAcc and VTA increased to anticipated gains, as predicted by prior work, but also increased to anticipated losses. Moreover, the magnitude of responses in both regions was positively correlated for gains and losses, across participants, while an independent reward-sensitivity covariate predicted the relative difference between and gain- and loss-related activation on self-directed trials. These results are inconsistent with the interpretation that these regions reflect anticipation of only positive-valence events. Instead, they indicate that anticipatory activation in reward-related regions largely reflects the motivational relevance of an upcoming event.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

BOLD responses in the VTA during the anticipation of gain and loss are positively correlated whether participants play for themselves or for a charity. Top: Average percent signal change differences (paid-control) for anticipation of gain and loss trials for the Self (left) and Charity (right) treatments. Each point is colored according to the participant's relative reward sensitivity index (z transformed). Gain and loss responses differences are positively correlated in both the self and charity conditions. Bottom: Individual Gain vs. Loss signal change differences are plotted against the participant's reward sensitivity index (z transformed). Each plot includes the orthogonal distance regression best fit line, as well as the correlation coefficient (r) and the p-value of that correlation (p). Only the regression in the Self condition was significant.
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Figure 6: BOLD responses in the VTA during the anticipation of gain and loss are positively correlated whether participants play for themselves or for a charity. Top: Average percent signal change differences (paid-control) for anticipation of gain and loss trials for the Self (left) and Charity (right) treatments. Each point is colored according to the participant's relative reward sensitivity index (z transformed). Gain and loss responses differences are positively correlated in both the self and charity conditions. Bottom: Individual Gain vs. Loss signal change differences are plotted against the participant's reward sensitivity index (z transformed). Each plot includes the orthogonal distance regression best fit line, as well as the correlation coefficient (r) and the p-value of that correlation (p). Only the regression in the Self condition was significant.

Mentions: We next investigated whether there were any across-subjects relationships between the magnitude of the responses to gain and loss trials. If there were a negative correlation across individuals between activations to gain and loss trials, even though the mean activation for both types of trials was positive, then that would be strong evidence that both motivation and affective valence modulate activation in reward-related regions. Alternatively, a positive correlation between activations to gain and loss trials would provide evidence in favor of a motivational explanation, alone. Our results support the motivation explanation. In the NAcc, activations during gain anticipation scaled positively with loss anticipation (Figure 5), with a significant correlation in self-directed-trials (r = 0.64) and a non-significant but numerically positive correlation on charity-directed trials. In the VTA (Figure 6), activations during gain and loss anticipation were positively correlated for both self-directed (r = 0.58) and charity-directed (r = 0.63) trials.


Activation in the VTA and nucleus accumbens increases in anticipation of both gains and losses.

Carter RM, Macinnes JJ, Huettel SA, Adcock RA - Front Behav Neurosci (2009)

BOLD responses in the VTA during the anticipation of gain and loss are positively correlated whether participants play for themselves or for a charity. Top: Average percent signal change differences (paid-control) for anticipation of gain and loss trials for the Self (left) and Charity (right) treatments. Each point is colored according to the participant's relative reward sensitivity index (z transformed). Gain and loss responses differences are positively correlated in both the self and charity conditions. Bottom: Individual Gain vs. Loss signal change differences are plotted against the participant's reward sensitivity index (z transformed). Each plot includes the orthogonal distance regression best fit line, as well as the correlation coefficient (r) and the p-value of that correlation (p). Only the regression in the Self condition was significant.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2742668&req=5

Figure 6: BOLD responses in the VTA during the anticipation of gain and loss are positively correlated whether participants play for themselves or for a charity. Top: Average percent signal change differences (paid-control) for anticipation of gain and loss trials for the Self (left) and Charity (right) treatments. Each point is colored according to the participant's relative reward sensitivity index (z transformed). Gain and loss responses differences are positively correlated in both the self and charity conditions. Bottom: Individual Gain vs. Loss signal change differences are plotted against the participant's reward sensitivity index (z transformed). Each plot includes the orthogonal distance regression best fit line, as well as the correlation coefficient (r) and the p-value of that correlation (p). Only the regression in the Self condition was significant.
Mentions: We next investigated whether there were any across-subjects relationships between the magnitude of the responses to gain and loss trials. If there were a negative correlation across individuals between activations to gain and loss trials, even though the mean activation for both types of trials was positive, then that would be strong evidence that both motivation and affective valence modulate activation in reward-related regions. Alternatively, a positive correlation between activations to gain and loss trials would provide evidence in favor of a motivational explanation, alone. Our results support the motivation explanation. In the NAcc, activations during gain anticipation scaled positively with loss anticipation (Figure 5), with a significant correlation in self-directed-trials (r = 0.64) and a non-significant but numerically positive correlation on charity-directed trials. In the VTA (Figure 6), activations during gain and loss anticipation were positively correlated for both self-directed (r = 0.58) and charity-directed (r = 0.63) trials.

Bottom Line: To represent value for learning and decision making, the brain must encode information about both the motivational relevance and affective valence of anticipated outcomes.The nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) are thought to play key roles in representing these and other aspects of valuation.Here, we manipulated the valence (i.e., monetary gain or loss) and personal relevance (i.e., self-directed or charity-directed) of anticipated outcomes within a variant of the monetary incentive delay task.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke University Durham, NC, USA.

ABSTRACT
To represent value for learning and decision making, the brain must encode information about both the motivational relevance and affective valence of anticipated outcomes. The nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) are thought to play key roles in representing these and other aspects of valuation. Here, we manipulated the valence (i.e., monetary gain or loss) and personal relevance (i.e., self-directed or charity-directed) of anticipated outcomes within a variant of the monetary incentive delay task. We scanned young-adult participants using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), utilizing imaging parameters targeted for the NAcc and VTA. For both self-directed and charity-directed trials, activation in the NAcc and VTA increased to anticipated gains, as predicted by prior work, but also increased to anticipated losses. Moreover, the magnitude of responses in both regions was positively correlated for gains and losses, across participants, while an independent reward-sensitivity covariate predicted the relative difference between and gain- and loss-related activation on self-directed trials. These results are inconsistent with the interpretation that these regions reflect anticipation of only positive-valence events. Instead, they indicate that anticipatory activation in reward-related regions largely reflects the motivational relevance of an upcoming event.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus