Hot Off the Press – November 23 , 2020
Adaptive decision making requires us to imagine – or mentally simulate – potential outcomes, particularly when potential outcomes are far off, uncertain, or even anecdotal. This ability depends in part on the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) , an important part of the frontal lobe altered in addiction. Previously it was thought this dependence reflected a role for the OFC in representing the cognitive maps – the associative models of the world – that support mental simulation during the decision-making process. Here we show that this is not the case – the OFC is not necessary for the use of an established map but is instead required only when disparate maps must be integrated or updated with new information. This result narrows and better specifies the function of the OFC within a network of structures critical for adaptive decision-making.
Neuron, 108 (3), pp. 526–537.e4, 2020, ISBN: 0896-6273.