Navigation Links
Neural mechanisms of value bias in the human visual cortex
Date:12/24/2008

New research demonstrates that bias toward a potentially more valuable outcome can influence how visual information is processed in the human brain. The study, published by Cell Press in the December 26th issue of the journal Neuron, provides insight into how the visual centers encode more valuable stimuli at the expense of less valuable alternatives.

Acquisition and evaluation of incoming sensory information is absolutely critical for guiding interactions with the environment. There is no doubt that prior rewards have a strong influence on decision making and that the value of a stimulus modulates the activity of neurons involved in initiating movements towards the more favorable of alternatives.

However, although recent studies have suggested that value also influences areas of the brain involved in processing sensory input, many questions remain. "Little is known about how value influences the acquisition and representation of incoming sensory information, or about the neural mechanisms that track the relative value of different objects to guide behavior," explains senior study author, Dr. John Serences from the Department of Psychology at the University of California, San Diego.

To examine how value impacts visual processing, Dr. Serences used functional magnetic resonance imaging to estimate changes in neural activity as human subjects selected one of two spatially separated targets (red or green) that varied in value across the course of the experiment. His experimental paradigm was carefully designed so as to measure value-related modulations within areas of the visual cortex and to dissociate the influence of prior rewards and subjective value.

The study revealed value-related modifications in many different areas of the human visual system. Interestingly, value influenced activation of early regions of visual cortex that are thought to play a key role in representing features of objects in the environment (shapes, colors, etc.). In addition, these modifications of neural activity were primarily driven by the reward history of each stimulus and not to self-reported estimates of stimulus value. "This result raises the intriguing possibility that these value related changes in brain activity operate largely via an implicit mechanism that is not necessarily accessible to the observer," offers Dr. Serences.

Dr. Serences also observed activation in regions of frontal and parietal cortex that were associated with representing the difference between the value of the two objects; these areas were very active when one choice was much more valuable than the other, and less active when the choices were of approximately equal value. Interestingly, these cortical areas have been previously implicated in the process of anticipating and tracking rewards. "These findings suggest that these brain regions may provide signals to bias visual processing in favor of more valuable stimuli, perhaps so that valuable objects are processed more efficiently and have more of an impact on decision making and behavior," concludes Dr. Serences.


'/>"/>

Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Neural stem cell study reveals mechanism that may play role in cancer
2. MIT aids creation of neural prosthetic devices
3. Neural cell transplants may help those with Parkinsons disease
4. NeuralIQ Expands Global Leadership Team, Names Donnie Blanks CEO
5. Scientists find clue to mechanisms of gene signaling and regulation
6. New insight into the mechanisms of voltage sensing and transduction in biological processes
7. New treatment mechanisms for schizophrenia
8. Mechanisms of plant-fungi symbiosis characterized by DOE Joint Genome Institute
9. Jefferson receives $11.6M NIH grant to study novel mechanisms of heart failure
10. Scientists reveal the key mechanisms for affinity between transient binding proteins
11. Corn researchers discover novel gene shut-off mechanisms
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/9/2016)... an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of ... make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control the ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016   The Weather Company , an IBM ... an industry-first capability in which consumers will be able to ... ask questions via voice or text and receive relevant information ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that ... be personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... YORK , May 16, 2016   EyeLock ... solutions, today announced the opening of an IoT Center ... to strengthen and expand the development of embedded iris ... an unprecedented level of convenience and security with unmatched ... authenticate one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that asks ... systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at the ... York City . The teams, chosen ... MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. Keynote ... of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... In a new case report published today in STEM CELLS Translational ... lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an injection of stem cells ... this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. , Lymphedema refers to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 On Wednesday, June ... 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% ... at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated coverage on the ... Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. ... BIND ). Learn more about these stocks by ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , June 22, 2016  Amgen ... platinum sponsorship of the QB3@953 life sciences ... improve human health. The shared laboratory space at QB3@953 ... startups overcome a key obstacle for many early stage ... As part of the sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen ...
Breaking Biology Technology: