The neural correlates of subjective value during intertemporal choice.
Neuroimaging studies of decision-making have generally related neural activity to objective measures (such as reward magnitude, probability or delay), despite choice preferences being subjective. However, economic theories posit that decision-makers behave as though different options have different subjective values. Here we use functional magnetic resonance imaging to show that neural activity in several brain regions--particularly the ventral striatum, medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex--tracks the revealed subjective value of delayed monetary rewards. This similarity provides unambiguous evidence that the subjective value of potential rewards is explicitly represented in the human brain.
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