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Neural Systems Responding to Degrees of Uncertainty in Human Decision-Making

Author:
Hsu, Ming, Bhatt, Meghana, Adolphs, Ralph, Tranel, Daniel, Camerer, Colin F.
Source:
Science 2005 v.310 no.5754 pp. 1680-1683
ISSN:
0036-8075
Subject:
amygdala, decision making, humans, image analysis, neural networks, people, prefrontal cortex, risk, uncertainty
Abstract:
Much is known about how people make decisions under varying levels of probability (risk). Less is known about the neural basis of decision-making when probabilities are uncertain because of missing information (ambiguity). In decision theory, ambiguity about probabilities should not affect choices. Using functional brain imaging, we show that the level of ambiguity in choices correlates positively with activation in the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex, and negatively with a striatal system. Moreover, striatal activity correlates positively with expected reward. Neurological subjects with orbitofrontal lesions were insensitive to the level of ambiguity and risk in behavioral choices. These data suggest a general neural circuit responding to degrees of uncertainty, contrary to decision theory.
Agid:
1530925