Neuronal mechanisms underlying economic choices

Camillo Padoa Schioppa
Room N08, Velodromo Building


Camillo Padoa Schioppa, Washington University in St Louis


In the past 20 years, a great deal of research has examined the neuronal processes underlying economic choices. Consistent evidence indicates a central role of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). While subjects choose, different groups of neurons in OFC represent different variables closely associated with the decision, including the subjective value of individual offers, the binary choice outcome, and the chosen value. OFC inactivation substantially reduces choice accuracy, and the activity of neurons encoding the offer values is causally related to choices. These results indicate that the different cell groups identified in OFC constitute the building blocks of a neural circuit in which economic decisions are formed. In my talk, I will review the main results of this line of work, describe recent advances related to the neuronal origins of choice biases, and discuss challenges and opportunities for future research.