Normalization is a common cortical computation widely observed in sensory perception, but its importance in perception of reward value and decision making remains largely unknown. We examined (1) whether normalized value signals occur in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and (2) whether changes in behavioral task context influence the normalized representation of value. We record medial OFC (mOFC) single neuron activity in awake-behaving monkeys during a reward-guided lottery task. mOFC neurons signal the relative values of options via a divisive normalization function when animals freely choose between alternatives. The normalization model, however, performed poorly in a variant of the task where only one of the two possible choice options yields a reward and the other was certain not to yield a reward (so called: "forced choice"). The existence of such context-specific value normalization may suggest that the mOFC contributes valuation signals critical for economic decision making when meaningful alternative options are available.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)