Dan Yamins, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Neural substrates of parallel devaluation-sensitive and devaluation-insensitive Pavlovian learning in humans.
2023; 14 (1): 8057
We aim to differentiate the brain regions involved in the learning and encoding of Pavlovian associations sensitive to changes in outcome value from those that are not sensitive to such changes by combining a learning task with outcome devaluation, eye-tracking, and functional magnetic resonance imaging in humans. Contrary to theoretical expectation, voxels correlating with reward prediction errors in the ventral striatum and subgenual cingulate appear to be sensitive to devaluation. Moreover, regions encoding state prediction errors appear to be devaluation insensitive. We can also distinguish regions encoding predictions about outcome taste identity from predictions about expected spatial location. Regions encoding predictions about taste identity seem devaluation sensitive while those encoding predictions about an outcome's spatial location seem devaluation insensitive. These findings suggest the existence of multiple and distinct associative mechanisms in the brain and help identify putative neural correlates for the parallel expression of both devaluation sensitive and insensitive conditioned behaviors.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-023-43747-5
View details for PubMedID 38052792
View details for PubMedCentralID 4332708
Neural mechanisms underlying the hierarchical construction of perceived aesthetic value.
2023; 14 (1): 127
Little is known about how the brain computes the perceived aesthetic value of complex stimuli such as visual art. Here, we used computational methods in combination with functional neuroimaging to provide evidence that the aesthetic value of a visual stimulus is computed in a hierarchical manner via a weighted integration over both low and high level stimulus features contained in early and late visual cortex, extending into parietal and lateral prefrontal cortices. Feature representations in parietal and lateral prefrontal cortex may in turn be utilized to produce an overall aesthetic value in the medial prefrontal cortex. Such brain-wide computations are not only consistent with a feature-based mechanism for value construction, but also resemble computations performed by a deep convolutional neural network. Our findings thus shed light on the existence of a general neurocomputational mechanism for rapidly and flexibly producing value judgements across an array of complex novel stimuli and situations.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-022-35654-y
View details for PubMedID 36693833