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Agency modulates the lateral and medial prefrontal cortex responses in belief-based decision making.

Xue G, He Q, Lu ZL, Levin IP, Dong Q, Bechara A - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: However, the neural mechanisms underlying the "agency" effect on belief-based decisions are not well understood.Furthermore, subjects with high external attribution of negative events were more affected by agency at the behavioral and neural levels.These results suggest that the prefrontal decision-making system can be modulated by abstract beliefs, and are thus vulnerable to factors such as false agency and attribution.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: National Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China. guixue@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
Many real-life decisions in complex and changing environments are guided by the decision maker's beliefs, such as her perceived control over decision outcomes (i.e., agency), leading to phenomena like the "illusion of control". However, the neural mechanisms underlying the "agency" effect on belief-based decisions are not well understood. Using functional imaging and a card guessing game, we revealed that the agency manipulation (i.e., either asking the subjects (SG) or the computer (CG) to guess the location of the winning card) not only affected the size of subjects' bets, but also their "world model" regarding the outcome dependency. Functional imaging results revealed that the decision-related activation in the lateral and medial prefrontal cortex (PFC) was significantly modulated by agency and previous outcome. Specifically, these PFC regions showed stronger activation when subjects made decisions after losses than after wins under the CG condition, but the pattern was reversed under the SG condition. Furthermore, subjects with high external attribution of negative events were more affected by agency at the behavioral and neural levels. These results suggest that the prefrontal decision-making system can be modulated by abstract beliefs, and are thus vulnerable to factors such as false agency and attribution.

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The effect of agency and outcome on bet-related neural activations.Significant agency by outcome interactions in the medial and lateral prefrontal cortex are overlaid on the (A) axial and (B) sagittal slices of the group mean structural images. All activations were thresholded by using cluster detection statistics, with a height threshold of z>2.3 and a cluster probability of P<0.05, corrected for whole-brain multiple comparisons. The top right panel shows the enlarged view of the medial prefrontal cortex cluster, which was further divided into three, i.e., posterior (y = 26), middle (y = 40) and anterior (y = 54) ROIs to examine the possible functional dissociations. To further probe the interactions, the middle and bottom panel show the plots of percentage signal change in (C) the left IFG, (D) the posterior, (E) middle, and (F) anterior rACC, as a function of agency, outcome and streak length. Error bars denote within-subject error. SW: short-win; SL: short-loss; LW: long-win; LL: long-loss.
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pone-0065274-g003: The effect of agency and outcome on bet-related neural activations.Significant agency by outcome interactions in the medial and lateral prefrontal cortex are overlaid on the (A) axial and (B) sagittal slices of the group mean structural images. All activations were thresholded by using cluster detection statistics, with a height threshold of z>2.3 and a cluster probability of P<0.05, corrected for whole-brain multiple comparisons. The top right panel shows the enlarged view of the medial prefrontal cortex cluster, which was further divided into three, i.e., posterior (y = 26), middle (y = 40) and anterior (y = 54) ROIs to examine the possible functional dissociations. To further probe the interactions, the middle and bottom panel show the plots of percentage signal change in (C) the left IFG, (D) the posterior, (E) middle, and (F) anterior rACC, as a function of agency, outcome and streak length. Error bars denote within-subject error. SW: short-win; SL: short-loss; LW: long-win; LL: long-loss.

Mentions: During the Bet stage, there were significant interactions between agency and previous outcome in the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG, x/y/z values in the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) coordinate system of −42, 22, and 18; Z = 3.36), and the rostral anterior cingulated cortex (rACC, x/y/z: −6,40,18; Z = 3.65) (Figure 3 A & B). Other regions showing the same task by streak interaction include the left (x/y/z: −62, −14, −20, Z = 3.83) and right (x/y/z: 54, −28, −6, Z = 3.80) middle temporal gyrus, the left lingual/fusiform gyrus (x/y/z: −26, −56, −6, Z = 3.84), and the right lingual gyrus (x/y/z: 12, −68, −4, Z = 3.69).


Agency modulates the lateral and medial prefrontal cortex responses in belief-based decision making.

Xue G, He Q, Lu ZL, Levin IP, Dong Q, Bechara A - PLoS ONE (2013)

The effect of agency and outcome on bet-related neural activations.Significant agency by outcome interactions in the medial and lateral prefrontal cortex are overlaid on the (A) axial and (B) sagittal slices of the group mean structural images. All activations were thresholded by using cluster detection statistics, with a height threshold of z>2.3 and a cluster probability of P<0.05, corrected for whole-brain multiple comparisons. The top right panel shows the enlarged view of the medial prefrontal cortex cluster, which was further divided into three, i.e., posterior (y = 26), middle (y = 40) and anterior (y = 54) ROIs to examine the possible functional dissociations. To further probe the interactions, the middle and bottom panel show the plots of percentage signal change in (C) the left IFG, (D) the posterior, (E) middle, and (F) anterior rACC, as a function of agency, outcome and streak length. Error bars denote within-subject error. SW: short-win; SL: short-loss; LW: long-win; LL: long-loss.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3675124&req=5

pone-0065274-g003: The effect of agency and outcome on bet-related neural activations.Significant agency by outcome interactions in the medial and lateral prefrontal cortex are overlaid on the (A) axial and (B) sagittal slices of the group mean structural images. All activations were thresholded by using cluster detection statistics, with a height threshold of z>2.3 and a cluster probability of P<0.05, corrected for whole-brain multiple comparisons. The top right panel shows the enlarged view of the medial prefrontal cortex cluster, which was further divided into three, i.e., posterior (y = 26), middle (y = 40) and anterior (y = 54) ROIs to examine the possible functional dissociations. To further probe the interactions, the middle and bottom panel show the plots of percentage signal change in (C) the left IFG, (D) the posterior, (E) middle, and (F) anterior rACC, as a function of agency, outcome and streak length. Error bars denote within-subject error. SW: short-win; SL: short-loss; LW: long-win; LL: long-loss.
Mentions: During the Bet stage, there were significant interactions between agency and previous outcome in the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG, x/y/z values in the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) coordinate system of −42, 22, and 18; Z = 3.36), and the rostral anterior cingulated cortex (rACC, x/y/z: −6,40,18; Z = 3.65) (Figure 3 A & B). Other regions showing the same task by streak interaction include the left (x/y/z: −62, −14, −20, Z = 3.83) and right (x/y/z: 54, −28, −6, Z = 3.80) middle temporal gyrus, the left lingual/fusiform gyrus (x/y/z: −26, −56, −6, Z = 3.84), and the right lingual gyrus (x/y/z: 12, −68, −4, Z = 3.69).

Bottom Line: However, the neural mechanisms underlying the "agency" effect on belief-based decisions are not well understood.Furthermore, subjects with high external attribution of negative events were more affected by agency at the behavioral and neural levels.These results suggest that the prefrontal decision-making system can be modulated by abstract beliefs, and are thus vulnerable to factors such as false agency and attribution.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: National Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China. guixue@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
Many real-life decisions in complex and changing environments are guided by the decision maker's beliefs, such as her perceived control over decision outcomes (i.e., agency), leading to phenomena like the "illusion of control". However, the neural mechanisms underlying the "agency" effect on belief-based decisions are not well understood. Using functional imaging and a card guessing game, we revealed that the agency manipulation (i.e., either asking the subjects (SG) or the computer (CG) to guess the location of the winning card) not only affected the size of subjects' bets, but also their "world model" regarding the outcome dependency. Functional imaging results revealed that the decision-related activation in the lateral and medial prefrontal cortex (PFC) was significantly modulated by agency and previous outcome. Specifically, these PFC regions showed stronger activation when subjects made decisions after losses than after wins under the CG condition, but the pattern was reversed under the SG condition. Furthermore, subjects with high external attribution of negative events were more affected by agency at the behavioral and neural levels. These results suggest that the prefrontal decision-making system can be modulated by abstract beliefs, and are thus vulnerable to factors such as false agency and attribution.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus