Multiple brain networks contribute to the acquisition of bias in perceptual decision-making

Mei Yen Chen, Koji Jimura, Corey N. White, W. Todd Maddox, Russell A. Poldrack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Bias occurs in perceptual decisions when the reward associated with a particular response dominates the sensory evidence in support of a choice. However, it remains unclear how this bias is acquired and once acquired, how it influences perceptual decision processes in the brain. We addressed these questions using model-based neuroimaging in a motion discrimination paradigm where contextual cues suggested which one of two options would receive higher rewards on each trial. We found that participants gradually learned to choose the higher-rewarded option in each context when making a perceptual decision. The amount of bias on each trial was fit well by a reinforcement-learning model that estimated the subjective value of each option within the current context. The brain mechanisms underlying this bias acquisition process were similar to those observed in reward-based decision tasks: prediction errors correlated with the fMRI signals in ventral striatum, dlPFC, and parietal cortex, whereas the amount of acquired bias correlated with activity in ventromedial prefrontal (vmPFC), dorsolateral frontal (dlPFC), and parietal cortices. Moreover, psychophysiological interaction analysis revealed that as bias increased, functional connectivity increased within multiple brain networks (dlPFC-vmPFC-visual, vmPFC-motor, and parietal-anterior-cingulate), suggesting that multiple mechanisms contribute to bias in perceptual decisions through integration of value processing with action, sensory, and control systems. These provide a novel link between the neural mechanisms underlying perceptual and economic decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number63
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - Mar 5 2015


  • Decision-making
  • Motion discrimination
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Reward
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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