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There is general acknowledgement that both the anterior cingulate and orbitofrontal cortex are implicated in reinforcement-guided decision making, and emotion and social behaviour. Despite the interest that these areas generate in both the cognitive neuroscience laboratory and the psychiatric clinic, ideas about the distinctive contributions made by each have only recently begun to emerge. This reflects an increasing understanding of the component processes that underlie reinforcement-guided decision making, such as the representation of reinforcement expectations, the exploration, updating and representation of action values, and the appreciation that choices are guided not just by the prospect of reward but also by the costs that action entails. Evidence is emerging to suggest that the anterior cingulate and orbitofrontal cortex make distinct contributions to each of these aspects of decision making.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Cogn Sci

Publication Date





168 - 176


Animals, Decision Making, Frontal Lobe, Gyrus Cinguli, Humans, Intention, Social Behavior