Partial adaptation of obtained and observed value signals preserves information about gains and losses
Burke, Christopher J
Tobler, Philippe N
The Journal of Neuroscience
Society for Neuroscience
MetadataShow full item record
Burke, C. J., Baddeley, M., Tobler, P. N., & Schultz, W. (2016). Partial adaptation of obtained and observed value signals preserves information about gains and losses. The Journal of Neuroscience, 36 10016-10025. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0487-16.2016
Given that the range of rewarding and punishing outcomes of actions is large but neural coding capacity is limited, efficient processing of outcomes by the brain is necessary. One mechanism to increase efficiency is to rescale neural output to the range of outcomes expected in the current context, and process only experienced deviations from this expectation. However, this mechanism comes at the cost of not being able to discriminate between unexpectedly low losses when times are bad versus unexpectedly high gains when times are good. Thus, too much adaptation would result in disregarding information about the nature and absolute magnitude of outcomes, preventing learning about the longer-term value structure of the environment. Here we investigate the degree of adaptation in outcome coding brain regions in humans, for directly experienced outcomes and observed outcomes. We scanned participants while they performed a social learning task in gain and loss blocks. Multivariate pattern analysis showed two distinct networks of brain regions adapt to the most likely outcomes within a block. Frontostriatal areas adapted to directly experienced outcomes whereas lateral frontal and temporoparietal regions adapted to observed social outcomes. Critically, in both cases adaptation was incomplete and information about whether the outcomes arose in a gain block or a loss block was retained. Univariate analysis confirmed incomplete adaptive coding in these regions but also detected non- adapting outcome signals. Thus, while neural areas rescale their responses to outcomes for efficient coding, they adapt incompletely and keep track of the longer-term incentives available in the environment.
relative coding, context, social learning, ventral striatum, observational conditioning
This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust and the Swiss National Science Foundation (PP00P1-128574 and CRSTT3-141965).
Wellcome Trust (093875/Z/10/Z)
Embargo Lift Date
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0487-16.2016
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/257406
Recommended or similar items
The following licence files are associated with this item: