Effects of category-specific costs on neural systems for perceptual decision-making.
Fleming SM., Whiteley L., Hulme OJ., Sahani M., Dolan RJ.
Perceptual judgments are often biased by prospective losses, leading to changes in decision criteria. Little is known about how and where sensory evidence and cost information interact in the brain to influence perceptual categorization. Here we show that prospective losses systematically bias the perception of noisy face-house images. Asymmetries in category-specific cost were associated with enhanced blood-oxygen-level-dependent signal in a frontoparietal network. We observed selective activation of parahippocampal gyrus for changes in category-specific cost in keeping with the hypothesis that loss functions enact a particular task set that is communicated to visual regions. Across subjects, greater shifts in decision criteria were associated with greater activation of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Our results support a hypothesis that costs bias an intermediate representation between perception and action, expressed via general effects on frontal cortex, and selective effects on extrastriate cortex. These findings indicate that asymmetric costs may affect a neural implementation of perceptual decision making in a similar manner to changes in category expectation, constituting a step toward accounting for how prospective losses are flexibly integrated with sensory evidence in the brain.