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Uncertainty is critical in the measure of information and in assessing the accuracy of predictions. It is determined by probability P, being maximal at P = 0.5 and decreasing at higher and lower probabilities. Using distinct stimuli to indicate the probability of reward, we found that the phasic activation of dopamine neurons varied monotonically across the(More)
It is important for animals to estimate the value of rewards as accurately as possible. Because the number of potential reward values is very large, it is necessary that the brain's limited resources be allocated so as to discriminate better among more likely reward outcomes at the expense of less likely outcomes. We found that midbrain dopamine neurons(More)
When deciding between different options, individuals are guided by the expected (mean) value of the different outcomes and by the associated degrees of uncertainty. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify brain activations coding the key decision parameters of expected value (magnitude and probability) separately from uncertainty(More)
Invasive recording of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA) of behaving animals suggests a role for these neurons in reward learning and novelty processing. In humans, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is currently the only non-invasive event-related method to measure SN/VTA activity, but it is debated to(More)
When making choices under uncertainty, people usually consider both the expected value and risk of each option, and choose the one with the higher utility. Expected value increases the expected utility of an option for all individuals. Risk increases the utility of an option for risk-seeking individuals, but decreases it for risk averse individuals. In 2(More)
Decision making under risk is central to human behavior. Economic decision theory suggests that value, risk, and risk aversion influence choice behavior. Although previous studies identified neural correlates of decision parameters, the contribution of these correlates to actual choices is unknown. In two different experiments, participants chose between(More)
Learning occurs when an outcome deviates from expectation (prediction error). According to formal learning theory, the defining paradigm demonstrating the role of prediction errors in learning is the blocking test. Here, a novel stimulus is blocked from learning when it is associated with a fully predicted outcome, presumably because the occurrence of the(More)
Individuals can learn by interacting with the environment and experiencing a difference between predicted and obtained outcomes (prediction error). However, many species also learn by observing the actions and outcomes of others. In contrast to individual learning, observational learning cannot be based on directly experienced outcome prediction errors.(More)
We previously demonstrated the presence of delay-period activity in midbrain dopamine neurons, and provided evidence that this activity corresponds to uncertainty about reward. An alternative interpretation of our observations was recently put forth in which it was suggested that the delay-period activity corresponds not to uncertainty but to(More)
Like other species, humans are sensitive to the decisions and actions of conspecifics, which can lead to herd behavior and undesirable outcomes such as stock market bubbles and bank runs. However, how the brain processes this socially derived influence is only poorly understood. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we scanned participants as(More)