Dissociable roles of cortical excitation-inhibition balance during patch-leaving versus value-guided decisions

Luca F. Kaiser, Theo O.J. Gruendler, Oliver Speck, Lennart Luettgau, Gerhard Jocham

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Jan 02, 2020
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Received Date: 16th December 19

In a dynamic world, it is essential to decide when to leave an exploited resource. Such patch-leaving decisions involve balancing the cost of moving against the gain expected from the alternative patch. This is in contrast with value-guided decisions that typically involve maximizing reward by selecting the current best option. Patterns of neuronal activity pertaining to patch-leaving decisions have been reported in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), whereas competition via mutual inhibition in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) is thought to underlie value-guided choice. Here, we show that the balance between cortical excitation and inhibition (E/I balance), measured by the ratio of GABA and glutamate concentrations, plays a dissociable role for the two kinds of decisions. Patch-leaving decision behaviour was related to E/I balance in dACC. In contrast, value-guided decision making was related to E/I balance in vmPFC. These results support previous mechanistic accounts of value-guided choice and provide novel evidence for a role of dACC E/I balance in patch-leaving decisions.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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Nature Communications

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