Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 236, Issue 6, pp 1679–1688 | Cite as

Neural encoding of choice during a delayed response task in primate striatum and orbitofrontal cortex

  • Howard C. Cromwell
  • Leon Tremblay
  • Wolfram Schultz
Research Article


Reward outcomes are available in many diverse situations and all involve choice. If there are multiple outcomes each rewarding, then decisions regarding relative value lead to choosing one over another. Important factors related to choice context should be encoded and utilized for this form of adaptive choosing. These factors can include the number of alternatives, the pacing of choice behavior and the possibility to reverse one’s choice. An essential step in understanding if the context of choice is encoded is to directly compare choice with a context in which choice is absent. Neural activity in orbitofrontal cortex and striatum encodes potential value parameters related to reward quality and quantity as well as relative preference. We examined how neural activations in these brain regions are sensitive to choice situations and potentially involved in a prediction for the upcoming outcome selection. Neural activity was recorded and compared between a two-choice spatial delayed response task and an imperative ‘one-option’ task. Neural activity was obtained that extended from the instruction cue to the movement similar to previous work utilizing the identical imperative task. Orbitofrontal and striatal neural responses depended upon the decision about the choice of which reward to collect. Moreover, signals to predictive instruction cues that precede choice were selective for the choice situation. These neural responses could reflect chosen value with greater information on relative value of individual options as well as encode choice context itself embedded in the task as a part of the post-decision variable.


Caudate Decision-making Incentive contrast Nucleus accumbens Putamen Reward 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, JP Scott Center for Neuroscience, Mind and BehaviorBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.Centre de Neuroscience CognitiveCedexFrance
  3. 3.Université Claude-Bernard Lyon 1VilleurbanneFrance
  4. 4.Department of Physiology, Development and NeuroscienceUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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