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Empathy for Pain Involves the Affective but not Sensory Components of Pain
TLDR
Only that part of the pain network associated with its affective qualities, but not its sensory qualities, mediates empathy, suggesting that the neural substrate for empathic experience does not involve the entire "pain matrix".
Cortical substrates for exploratory decisions in humans
TLDR
It is shown, in a gambling task, that human subjects' choices can be characterized by a computationally well-regarded strategy for addressing the explore/exploit dilemma, and a model of action selection under uncertainty that involves switching between exploratory and exploitative behavioural modes is suggested.
Empathic neural responses are modulated by the perceived fairness of others
TLDR
It is shown that in men (at least) empathic responses are shaped by valuation of other people's social behaviour, such that they empathize with fair opponents while favouring the physical punishment of unfair opponents, a finding that echoes recent evidence for altruistic punishment.
Dopamine-dependent prediction errors underpin reward-seeking behaviour in humans
TLDR
It is concluded that dopamine-dependent modulation of striatal activity can account for how the human brain uses reward prediction errors to improve future decisions.
Frames, Biases, and Rational Decision-Making in the Human Brain
TLDR
It is found that the framing effect was specifically associated with amygdala activity, suggesting a key role for an emotional system in mediating decision biases and how the brain may modulate the effect of these biasing influences to approximate rationality.
When Fear Is Near: Threat Imminence Elicits Prefrontal-Periaqueductal Gray Shifts in Humans
TLDR
Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, it is found that as the virtual predator grew closer, brain activity shifted from the ventromedial prefrontal cortex to the periaqueductal gray, and showed maximal expression when a high degree of pain was anticipated.
Context-Dependent Human Extinction Memory Is Mediated by a Ventromedial Prefrontal and Hippocampal Network
TLDR
It is shown that, after extinction, a CS-evoked engagement of human ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) and hippocampus is context dependent, being expressed in an extinction, but not a conditioning, context.
Temporal difference models describe higher-order learning in humans
TLDR
It is shown that neural activity in the ventral striatum and the anterior insula displays a marked correspondence to the signals for sequential learning predicted by temporal difference models, revealing a flexible aversive learning process ideally suited to the changing and uncertain nature of real-world environments.
Differential Encoding of Losses and Gains in the Human Striatum
TLDR
It is shown that striatal activation reflects positively signed prediction errors for both financial reward and loss, and functional segregation within the striatum is shown, with more anterior regions showing relative selectivity for rewards and more posterior regions for losses.
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