Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Marginal utility theory prescribes the relationship between the objective property of the magnitude of rewards and their subjective value. Despite its pervasive influence, however, there is remarkably little direct empirical evidence for such a theory of value, let alone of its neurobiological basis. We show that human preferences in an intertemporal choice task are best described by a model that integrates marginally diminishing utility with temporal discounting. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we show that activity in the dorsal striatum encodes both the marginal utility of rewards, over and above that which can be described by their magnitude alone, and the discounting associated with increasing time. In addition, our data show that dorsal striatum may be involved in integrating subjective valuation systems inherent to time and magnitude, thereby providing an overall metric of value used to guide choice behavior. Furthermore, during choice, we show that anterior cingulate activity correlates with the degree of difficulty associated with dissonance between value and time. Our data support an integrative architecture for decision making, revealing the neural representation of distinct subcomponents of value that may contribute to impulsivity and decisiveness.

Original publication

DOI

10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1126-09.2009

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Neurosci

Publication Date

29/07/2009

Volume

29

Pages

9575 - 9581

Keywords

Adult, Brain, Brain Mapping, Corpus Striatum, Decision Making, Female, Gyrus Cinguli, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Models, Psychological, Neuropsychological Tests, Regression Analysis, Reward, Time Factors, Young Adult