Anterior Cingulate: Single Neuronal Signals Related to Degree of Reward Expectancy

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Science  31 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5573, pp. 1709-1711
DOI: 10.1126/science.1069504

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As monkeys perform schedules containing several trials with a visual cue indicating reward proximity, their error rates decrease as the number of remaining trials decreases, suggesting that their motivation and/or reward expectancy increases as the reward approaches. About one-third of single neurons recorded in the anterior cingulate cortex of monkeys during these reward schedules had responses that progressively changed strength with reward expectancy, an effect that disappeared when the cue was random. Alterations of this progression could be the basis for the changes from normal that are reported in anterior cingulate population activity for obsessive-compulsive disorder and drug abuse, conditions characterized by disturbances in reward expectancy.

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