News Release

Where the brain turns quality and quantity into value

Anterior cingulate cortex integrates disparate information to inform 'on-the-fly' decision-making

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Society for Neuroscience

Value from Parts

image: Figure 5. Computation of value from component parts in the anterior cingulate cortex (A) Overlapping effects of quality, quantity, and their interaction in the ACC. A conjunction analysis revealed overlapping representations of each component (p<0.05uncorrected) [green] in the ACC, suggesting a nexus for the computation of value. A complementary analysis using an explicit representation of integrated value as a parametric modulator identified the same region (p<0.05FWE-corrected) [turquoise]. Timecourse displayed for illustration purposes. (B) Decision > Non-Decision trials. The ACC also showed higher activity in trials upon which a decision was made compared to valuation trials [red], overlapping with the conjunction analysis identified in panel a [green]. view more 

Credit: de Berker <em>et al., JNeurosci</em> (2018)

Researchers have pinpointed a part of the human brain responsible for "on-the-fly" decision-making. According to the findings published in JNeurosci, the anterior cingulate cortex integrates disparate information about the desirability and amount of an option to inform choice.

Choosing between apples and oranges requires one to consider both the type of fruit and the number of items available. Equipped with this information, decision-makers weigh the quality and quantity of the options to choose the one that meets their needs.

Using gift cards to assess where participants prefer to shop (quality) and how much they are given to spend (quantity), Archy de Berker and colleagues studied how the brain combines these two components into subjective value. The researchers identified multiple brain regions involved in this process. Activity in the inferior frontal gyrus was associated with quality, whereas activity in the intra-parietal sulcus was associated with quantity. Although several other parts of the brain were linked to the interaction between quality and quantity, the anterior cingulate cortex was the only one activated by all three factors.


Article: Computing value from quality and quantity in human decision making


Corresponding author: Archy de Berker (Element AI, Montreal, Canada),">

About JNeurosci

JNeurosci, the Society for Neuroscience's first journal, was launched in 1981 as a means to communicate the findings of the highest quality neuroscience research to the growing field. Today, the journal remains committed to publishing cutting-edge neuroscience that will have an immediate and lasting scientific impact, while responding to authors' changing publishing needs, representing breadth of the field and diversity in authorship.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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