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The Measurement of Subjective Value and Its Relation to Contingent Valuation and Environmental Public Goods.

Khaw MW, Grab DA, Livermore MA, Vossler CA, Glimcher PW - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: The activations associated with the traditional classes of goods replicate previous correlations between neural activity in valuation areas and behavioral preferences.In contrast, CV-elicited values for environmental proposals did not correlate with brain activity at either the individual or population level.For a sub-population of participants, CV-elicited values were correlated with activity within the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, a region associated with cognitive control and shifting decision strategies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York City, New York, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Environmental public goods--including national parks, clean air/water, and ecosystem services--provide substantial benefits on a global scale. These goods have unique characteristics in that they are typically "nonmarket" goods, with values from both use and passive use that accrue to a large number of individuals both in current and future generations. In this study, we test the hypothesis that neural signals in areas correlated with subjective valuations for essentially all other previously studied categories of goods (ventromedial prefrontal cortex and ventral striatum) also correlate with environmental valuations. We use contingent valuation (CV) as our behavioral tool for measuring valuations of environmental public goods. CV is a standard stated preference approach that presents survey respondents with information on an issue and asks questions that help policymakers determine how much citizens are willing to pay for a public good or policy. We scanned human subjects while they viewed environmental proposals, along with three other classes of goods. The presentation of all four classes of goods yielded robust and similar patterns of temporally synchronized brain activation within attentional networks. The activations associated with the traditional classes of goods replicate previous correlations between neural activity in valuation areas and behavioral preferences. In contrast, CV-elicited values for environmental proposals did not correlate with brain activity at either the individual or population level. For a sub-population of participants, CV-elicited values were correlated with activity within the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, a region associated with cognitive control and shifting decision strategies. The results show that neural activity associated with the subjective valuation of environmental proposals differs profoundly from the neural activity associated with previously examined goods and preference measures.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Statistical parameter maps for parametric regression including all behaviorally measured preferences as regressors and all possible “leave-one-out” combinations, replicating neural correlates identified in previous studies and meta-studies of subjective valuations.Clockwise from top left: Inclusive of all preferences, leaving out contingent valuations, leaving out activity ratings, leaving out snack food bids, and leaving out consumer good choices. Threshold for each map was set to p < 0.01, FDR corrected.
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pone.0132842.g005: Statistical parameter maps for parametric regression including all behaviorally measured preferences as regressors and all possible “leave-one-out” combinations, replicating neural correlates identified in previous studies and meta-studies of subjective valuations.Clockwise from top left: Inclusive of all preferences, leaving out contingent valuations, leaving out activity ratings, leaving out snack food bids, and leaving out consumer good choices. Threshold for each map was set to p < 0.01, FDR corrected.

Mentions: The set of behavioral valuations for all four categories of goods (using all four techniques) were then used to generate parametric estimates of subjective value (specific to each individual subject) to correlate with all brain activity measured during viewing of all of the goods. A whole-brain univariate regression analysis reveals that BOLD activity measured across all four categories of goods correlates with preference rankings in regions of the VS, ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), and posterior parietal cortex (PPC)—all areas that have been implicated in subjective valuation meta-analyses [22–23] as well as in the original studies that we replicated within this exercise [7,12,26]. This correlation is significant (p < 0.01, FDR corrected) when inclusive of all the parametric regressors, as well as across a leave-one-out procedure excluding any individual set (i.e., any individual type of good) of preference regressors (Fig 5). Our overall neural correlate of subjective valuation thus replicates previous decision-making fMRI studies involving different types of rewards and valuation [19,22,23].


The Measurement of Subjective Value and Its Relation to Contingent Valuation and Environmental Public Goods.

Khaw MW, Grab DA, Livermore MA, Vossler CA, Glimcher PW - PLoS ONE (2015)

Statistical parameter maps for parametric regression including all behaviorally measured preferences as regressors and all possible “leave-one-out” combinations, replicating neural correlates identified in previous studies and meta-studies of subjective valuations.Clockwise from top left: Inclusive of all preferences, leaving out contingent valuations, leaving out activity ratings, leaving out snack food bids, and leaving out consumer good choices. Threshold for each map was set to p < 0.01, FDR corrected.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4519262&req=5

pone.0132842.g005: Statistical parameter maps for parametric regression including all behaviorally measured preferences as regressors and all possible “leave-one-out” combinations, replicating neural correlates identified in previous studies and meta-studies of subjective valuations.Clockwise from top left: Inclusive of all preferences, leaving out contingent valuations, leaving out activity ratings, leaving out snack food bids, and leaving out consumer good choices. Threshold for each map was set to p < 0.01, FDR corrected.
Mentions: The set of behavioral valuations for all four categories of goods (using all four techniques) were then used to generate parametric estimates of subjective value (specific to each individual subject) to correlate with all brain activity measured during viewing of all of the goods. A whole-brain univariate regression analysis reveals that BOLD activity measured across all four categories of goods correlates with preference rankings in regions of the VS, ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), and posterior parietal cortex (PPC)—all areas that have been implicated in subjective valuation meta-analyses [22–23] as well as in the original studies that we replicated within this exercise [7,12,26]. This correlation is significant (p < 0.01, FDR corrected) when inclusive of all the parametric regressors, as well as across a leave-one-out procedure excluding any individual set (i.e., any individual type of good) of preference regressors (Fig 5). Our overall neural correlate of subjective valuation thus replicates previous decision-making fMRI studies involving different types of rewards and valuation [19,22,23].

Bottom Line: The activations associated with the traditional classes of goods replicate previous correlations between neural activity in valuation areas and behavioral preferences.In contrast, CV-elicited values for environmental proposals did not correlate with brain activity at either the individual or population level.For a sub-population of participants, CV-elicited values were correlated with activity within the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, a region associated with cognitive control and shifting decision strategies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York City, New York, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Environmental public goods--including national parks, clean air/water, and ecosystem services--provide substantial benefits on a global scale. These goods have unique characteristics in that they are typically "nonmarket" goods, with values from both use and passive use that accrue to a large number of individuals both in current and future generations. In this study, we test the hypothesis that neural signals in areas correlated with subjective valuations for essentially all other previously studied categories of goods (ventromedial prefrontal cortex and ventral striatum) also correlate with environmental valuations. We use contingent valuation (CV) as our behavioral tool for measuring valuations of environmental public goods. CV is a standard stated preference approach that presents survey respondents with information on an issue and asks questions that help policymakers determine how much citizens are willing to pay for a public good or policy. We scanned human subjects while they viewed environmental proposals, along with three other classes of goods. The presentation of all four classes of goods yielded robust and similar patterns of temporally synchronized brain activation within attentional networks. The activations associated with the traditional classes of goods replicate previous correlations between neural activity in valuation areas and behavioral preferences. In contrast, CV-elicited values for environmental proposals did not correlate with brain activity at either the individual or population level. For a sub-population of participants, CV-elicited values were correlated with activity within the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, a region associated with cognitive control and shifting decision strategies. The results show that neural activity associated with the subjective valuation of environmental proposals differs profoundly from the neural activity associated with previously examined goods and preference measures.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus