We have an incomplete picture of howthe brain links object representations to reward value, and howthis information is stored and later retrieved. The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), medial frontal cortex (MFC), and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), together with the amygdala, are thought to play key roles in these processes. There is an apparent discrepancy, however, regarding frontal areas thought to encode value in macaque monkeys versus humans. To address this issue, we used fMRI in macaque monkeys to localize brain areas encoding recently learned image values. Each week, monkeys learned to associate images of novel objects with a high or lowprobability ofwater reward. Areas responding to the value of recently learned rewardpredictive images included MFC area 10 m/32, VLPFC area 12, and inferior temporal visual cortex (IT). The amygdala and OFC, each thought to be involved in value encoding, showed little such effect. Instead, these 2 areas primarily responded to visual stimulation and reward receipt, respectively. Strong image value encoding in monkey MFC compared with OFC is surprising, but agrees with results from human imaging studies. Our findings demonstrate the importance of VLPFC, MFC, and IT in representing the values of recently learned visual images.
- Prefrontal cortex
- Visual cortex
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience