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Behavioral and Neural Signatures of Reduced Updating of Alternative Options in Alcohol-Dependent Patients during Flexible Decision-Making

Reiter, AMF; Deserno, L; Kallert, T; Heinze, H-J; Heinz, A; Schlagenhauf, F; (2016) Behavioral and Neural Signatures of Reduced Updating of Alternative Options in Alcohol-Dependent Patients during Flexible Decision-Making. Journal of Neuroscience , 36 (43) pp. 10935-10948. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4322-15.2016. Green open access

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Abstract

Addicted individuals continue substance use despite the knowledge of harmful consequences and often report having no choice but to consume. Computational psychiatry accounts have linked this clinical observation to difficulties in making flexible and goal-directed decisions in dynamic environments via consideration of potential alternative choices. To probe this in alcohol-dependent patients (n = 43) versus healthy volunteers (n = 35), human participants performed an anticorrelated decision-making task during functional neuroimaging. Via computational modeling, we investigated behavioral and neural signatures of inference regarding the alternative option. While healthy control subjects exploited the anticorrelated structure of the task to guide decision-making, alcohol-dependent patients were relatively better explained by a model-free strategy due to reduced inference on the alternative option after punishment. Whereas model-free prediction error signals were preserved, alcohol-dependent patients exhibited blunted medial prefrontal signatures of inference on the alternative option. This reduction was associated with patients' behavioral deficit in updating the alternative choice option and their obsessive-compulsive drinking habits. All results remained significant when adjusting for potential confounders (e.g., neuropsychological measures and gray matter density). A disturbed integration of alternative choice options implemented by the medial prefrontal cortex appears to be one important explanation for the puzzling question of why addicted individuals continue drug consumption despite negative consequences.

Type: Article
Title: Behavioral and Neural Signatures of Reduced Updating of Alternative Options in Alcohol-Dependent Patients during Flexible Decision-Making
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4322-15.2016
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4322-15.2016
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10058676
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