Matching Behavior and the Representation of Value in the Parietal Cortex

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Abstract

Psychologists and economists have long appreciated the contribution of reward history and expectation to decision-making. Yet we know little about how specific histories of choice and reward lead to an internal representation of the "value" of possible actions. We approached this problem through an integrated application of behavioral, computational, and physiological techniques. Monkeys were placed in a dynamic foraging environment in which they had to track the changing values of alternative choices through time. In this context, the monkeys' foraging behavior provided a window into their subjective valuation. We found that a simple model based on reward history can duplicate this behavior and that neurons in the parietal cortex represent the relative value of competing actions predicted by this model.

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