Independent Neural Computation of Value from Other People’s Confidence

Abstract Expectation of reward can be shaped by the observation of actions and expressions of other people in one’s environment. A person’s apparent confidence in the likely reward of an action, for instance, makes qualities of their evidence, not observed directly, socially accessible. This strategy is computationally distinguished from associative learning methods that rely on direct observation, by its use of inference from indirect evidence. In twenty-three healthy human subjects, we isolated effects of first-hand experience, other people’s choices, and the mediating effect of their confidence, on decision-making and neural correlates of value within ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). Value derived from first-hand experience and other people’s choices (irrespective of confidence) were indiscriminately represented across vmPFC. However, value computed from agent choices weighted by their associated confidence was represented with specificity‚Ķ


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