Decision Making Journal Club

Uncovering the spatio-temporal dynamics of value-based decision-making in the human brain: a combined fMRI–EEG study

While there is a growing body of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) evidence implicating a corpus of brain regions in value-based decision-making in humans, the limited temporal resolution of fMRI cannot address the relative temporal precedence of different brain regions in decision-making. To address this question, we adopted a computational model-based approach to electroencephalography (EEG) data acquired during a simple binary choice task. fMRI data were also acquired from the same participants for source localization. Post-decision value signals emerged 200 ms post-stimulus in a predominantly posterior source in the vicinity of the intraparietal sulcus and posterior temporal lobe cortex, alongside a weaker anterior locus. The signal then shifted to a predominantly anterior locus 850 ms following the trial onset, localized to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and lateral prefrontal cortex. Comparison signals between unchosen and chosen options emerged late in the trial at 1050 ms in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, suggesting that such comparison signals may not be directly associated with the decision itself but rather may play a role in post-decision action selection. Taken together, these results provide us new insights into the temporal dynamics of decision-making in the brain, suggesting that for a simple binary choice task, decisions may be encoded predominantly in posterior areas such as intraparietal sulcus, before shifting anteriorly.