Sarah R. Heilbronner

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In attentional models of learning, associations between actions and subsequent rewards are stronger when outcomes are surprising, regardless of their valence. Despite the behavioral evidence that surprising outcomes drive learning, neural correlates of unsigned reward prediction errors remain elusive. Here we show that in a probabilistic choice task,(More)
When has the world changed enough to warrant a new approach? The answer depends on current needs, behavioral flexibility and prior knowledge about the environment. Formal approaches solve the problem by integrating the recent history of rewards, errors, uncertainty and context via Bayesian inference to detect changes in the world and alter behavioral(More)
Human and non-human animals tend to avoid risky prospects. If such patterns of economic choice are adaptive, risk preferences should reflect the typical decision-making environments faced by organisms. However, this approach has not been widely used to examine the risk sensitivity in closely related species with different ecologies. Here, we experimentally(More)
Despite its phylogenetic antiquity and clinical importance, the posterior cingulate cortex (CGp) remains an enigmatic nexus of attention, memory, motivation, and decision making. Here we show that CGp neurons track decision salience - the degree to which an option differs from a standard - but not the subjective value of a decision. To do this, we recorded(More)
In contrast to humans and most other animals, rhesus macaques strongly prefer risky rewards to safe ones with similar expected value. Why macaques prefer risk while other animals typically avoid it remains puzzling and challenges the idea that monkeys provide a model for human economic behavior. Here we argue that monkeys' risk-seeking preferences are(More)
Sociality is believed to have evolved as a strategy for animals to cope with their environments. Yet the genetic basis of sociality remains unclear. Here we provide evidence that social network tendencies are heritable in a gregarious primate. The tendency for rhesus macaques, Macaca mulatta, to be tied affiliatively to others via connections mediated by(More)
The cingulum bundle (CB) is one of the brain's major white matter pathways, linking regions associated with executive function, decision-making, and emotion. Neuroimaging has revealed that abnormalities in particular locations within the CB are associated with specific psychiatric disorders, including depression and bipolar disorder. However, the fibers(More)
The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) has attracted great interest from neuroscientists because it is associated with so many important cognitive functions. Despite, or perhaps because of, its rich functional repertoire, we lack a single comprehensive view of its function. Most research has approached this puzzle from the top down, using aggregate(More)
People generally prefer risky options, which have fully specified outcome probabilities, to ambiguous options, which have unspecified probabilities. This preference, formalized in economics, is strong enough that people will reliably prefer a risky option to an ambiguous option with a greater expected value. Explanations for ambiguity aversion often invoke(More)
Humans and other animals are idiosyncratically sensitive to risk, either preferring or avoiding options having the same value but differing in uncertainty. Many explanations for risk sensitivity rely on the non-linear shape of a hypothesized utility curve. Because such models do not place any importance on uncertainty per se, utility curve-based accounts(More)