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Neural Systems Responding to Degrees of Uncertainty in Human Decision-Making
- Hsu, Ming, Bhatt, Meghana, Adolphs, Ralph, Tranel, Daniel, Camerer, Colin F.
- Science 2005 v.310 no.5754 pp. 1680-1683
- amygdala, decision making, humans, image analysis, neural networks, people, prefrontal cortex, risk, uncertainty
- 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.