The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and amygdala may mediate the ability to engage in flexible behaviour as the environment changes. Typically flexible behaviour is assessed by using a reversal learning task that requires adopting a win-stay/lose-shift strategy for optimal performance. In a recent study published in Neuron, Dr Bolton Chau, Professor Matthew Rushworth and colleagues identified a lateral OFC region that carried an adaptive win-stay/lose-shift signal (left). In contrast, amygdala encoded a previous reward signal even though that information was irrelevant to the performance of the task (right). These data demonstrate that OFC and amygdala each make unique contributions to ﬂexible behaviour and learning.
EP researchers reveal dissociable functions for amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex
7 September 2015