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Representation of Action-Specific Reward Values in the Striatum

Science  25 Nov 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5752, pp. 1337-1340
DOI: 10.1126/science.1115270

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Abstract

The estimation of the reward an action will yield is critical in decision-making. To elucidate the role of the basal ganglia in this process, we recorded striatal neurons of monkeys who chose between left and right handle turns, based on the estimated reward probabilities of the actions. During a delay period before the choices, the activity of more than one-third of striatal projection neurons was selective to the values of one of the two actions. Fewer neurons were tuned to relative values or action choice. These results suggest representation of action values in the striatum, which can guide action selection in the basal ganglia circuit.

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