Separate Neural Mechanisms Underlie Choices and Strategic Preferences in Risky Decision Making

Neuron (2009) 62, 593–602

10 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2014 Last revised: 31 Dec 2016

See all articles by Vinod Venkatraman

Vinod Venkatraman

Temple University - Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management

John W. Payne

Duke University - Marketing

James R. Bettman

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business

Mary Frances Luce

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business

Scott Huettel

Duke University - Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Date Written: May 28, 2009

Abstract

Adaptive decision making in real-world contexts often relies on strategic simplifications of decision problems. Yet, the neural mechanisms that shape these strategies and their implementation remain largely unknown. Using an economic decision-making task, we dissociate brain regions that predict specific choices fromthose predictingan individual’s preferred strategy. Choices that maximized gains or minimized losses were predicted by functional magnetic resonance imaging activation in ventromedial prefrontal cortex or anterior insula, respectively. However, choices that followed a simplifying strategy (i.e., attending to overall probability of winning) were associated with activation in parietal and lateral prefrontal cortices. Dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, through differential functional connectivity with parietal and insular cortex, predicted individual variability in strategic preferences. Finally, we demonstrate that robust decision strategies follow from neural sensitivity to rewards. We conclude that decision making reflects more than compensatory interaction of choice-related regions; in addition, specific brain systems potentiate choices depending on strategies, traits, and context.

Suggested Citation

Venkatraman, Vinod and Payne, John W. and Bettman, James R. and Luce, Mary Frances and Huettel, Scott, Separate Neural Mechanisms Underlie Choices and Strategic Preferences in Risky Decision Making (May 28, 2009). Neuron (2009) 62, 593–602, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2430745

Vinod Venkatraman (Contact Author)

Temple University - Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

John W. Payne

Duke University - Marketing ( email )

United States

James R. Bettman

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States

Mary Frances Luce

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States

Scott Huettel

Duke University - Department of Psychology and Neuroscience ( email )

Durham, NC 27708
United States

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