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Title: Stimulus-Dependent Adjustment of Reward Prediction Error in the Midbrain
Authors: Takemura, Hiromasa ×
Samejima, Kazuyuki
Vogels, Rufin
Sakagami, Masamichi
Okuda, Jiro #
Issue Date: Dec-2011
Publisher: Public Library of Sciene
Series Title: PLoS One vol:6 issue:12 pages:e28337
Abstract: Previous reports have described that neural activities in midbrain dopamine areas are sensitive to unexpected reward delivery and omission. These activities are correlated with reward prediction error in reinforcement learning models, the difference between predicted reward values and the obtained reward outcome. These findings suggest that the reward prediction error signal in the brain updates reward prediction through stimulus–reward experiences. It remains unknown, however, how sensory processing of reward-predicting stimuli contributes to the computation of reward prediction error. To elucidate this issue, we examined the relation between stimulus discriminability of the reward-predicting stimuli and the reward prediction error signal in the brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Before main experiments, subjects learned an association between the orientation of a perceptually salient (high-contrast) Gabor patch and a juice reward. The subjects were then presented with lower-contrast Gabor patch stimuli to predict a reward. We calculated the correlation between fMRI signals and reward prediction error in two reinforcement learning models: a model including the modulation of reward prediction by stimulus discriminability and a model excluding this modulation. Results showed that fMRI signals in the midbrain are more highly correlated with reward prediction error in the model that includes stimulus discriminability than in the model that excludes stimulus discriminability. No regions showed higher correlation with the model that excludes stimulus discriminability. Moreover, results show that the difference in correlation between the two models was significant from the first session of the experiment, suggesting that the reward computation in the midbrain was modulated based on stimulus discriminability before learning a new contingency between perceptually ambiguous stimuli and a reward. These results suggest that the human reward system can incorporate the level of the stimulus discriminability flexibly into reward computations by modulating previously acquired reward values for a typical stimulus.
ISSN: 1932-6203
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Research Group Neurophysiology
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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