Orbitofrontal Cortex as a Cognitive Map of Task Space

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Orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) has long been known to play an important role in decision making. However, the exact nature of that role has remained elusive. Here, we propose a unifying theory of OFC function. We hypothesize that OFC provides an abstraction of currently available information in the form of a labeling of the current task state, which is used for reinforcement learning (RL) elsewhere in the brain. This function is especially critical when task states include unobservable information, for instance, from working memory. We use this framework to explain classic findings in reversal learning, delayed alternation, extinction, and devaluation as well as more recent findings showing the effect of OFC lesions on the firing of dopaminergic neurons in ventral tegmental area (VTA) in rodents performing an RL task. In addition, we generate a number of testable experimental predictions that can distinguish our theory from other accounts of OFC function. ?? 2014 Elsevier Inc.
Animals, feedback, Oxygen, Humans, Rats, Nerve Net, Neural Networks (Computer), Psychomotor Performance, Computational modeling, algorithms, models, movement, computational biology, Female, Male, Neurological, Animal, Aging, Bayes Theorem, Adult, Cues, Hippocampus, Brain, Neural Pathways, Brain Mapping, Learning, Basal Ganglia, Reaction Time, Prefrontal Cortex, Attention, Cognition, Psychological Theory, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Young Adult, Environment, Adolescent, Frontal Lobe, Semantics, Neuropsychological Tests, Analysis of Variance, Perception, Predictive Value of Tests, Choice Behavior, Reward, Acoustic Stimulation, Physiology, Markov Chains, Child, Diagnostic Imaging, extinction, Functional Neuroimaging, Probability Learning, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Psychology, Nucleus Accumbens, Reinforcement (Psychology), Corpus Striatum, Dopamine, Dopaminergic Neurons, Association Learning, fmri, frontoparietal network, model comparison, reinforcement learning, representation learning, Artificial Intelligence, Psychological, Discrimination Learning, Long-Evans, Nonparametric, injuries/physiology, methods, Neuropsychology, anatomy /&/ histology/physiology, Ventral Striatum, metabolism, Ventral Tegmental Area, Planning Techniques, Motivation, Classical, Conditioning, MVPA, prediction error, striatum, value, vmPFC, Computer-Assisted, Image Processing, Logistic Models, Neostriatum, Non-U.S. Gov't, Parkinson Disease, Social, Volition, blood, blood supply/physiology, physiopathology, Individuality, Task Performance and Analysis, Anticipation, Data Interpretation, Exploratory Behavior, Eye Movement Measurements, Gambling, Hierarchy, Research Support, Risk-Taking, Statistical, Statistics, growth /&/ development/physiology
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