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Testing the Reward Prediction Error Hypothesis with an Axiomatic Model

Rutledge, RB; Dean, M; Caplin, A; Glimcher, PW; (2010) Testing the Reward Prediction Error Hypothesis with an Axiomatic Model. JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE , 30 (40) 13525 - 13536. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1747-10.2010. Green open access

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Abstract

Neuroimaging studies typically identify neural activity correlated with the predictions of highly parameterized models, like the many reward prediction error (RPE) models used to study reinforcement learning. Identified brain areas might encode RPEs or, alternatively, only have activity correlated with RPE model predictions. Here, we use an alternate axiomatic approach rooted in economic theory to formally test the entire class of RPE models on neural data. We show that measurements of human neural activity from the striatum, medial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and posterior cingulate cortex satisfy necessary and sufficient conditions for the entire class of RPE models. However, activity measured from the anterior insula falsifies the axiomatic model, and therefore no RPE model can account for measured activity. Further analysis suggests the anterior insula might instead encode something related to the salience of an outcome. As cognitive neuroscience matures and models proliferate, formal approaches of this kind that assess entire model classes rather than specific model exemplars may take on increased significance.

Type: Article
Title: Testing the Reward Prediction Error Hypothesis with an Axiomatic Model
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1747-10.2010
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1747-10.2010
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. The license allows you to copy, distribute, and transmit the work, as well as adapting it. However, you must attribute the work to the author (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work), and cannot use the work for commercial purposes without prior permission of the author. If you alter or build upon this work, you can distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one. PubMed ID: 20926678
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/1376814
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