The Neurobiology of Preferences
Symmonds M., Dolan RJ.
The neuroscience of choice and preference dates back to the nineteenth century, with the emergence of the idea of functional specialization as a fundamental organizational principle of the brain. The development of neuroimaging techniques-in particular, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)-has meant that questions related to choice and preference can now be addressed non-invasively in humans. There are important examples where choices do not accord with internal wants. An addict may perform an action in the present despite expressing a desire to avoid doing this very action on a prior occasion. A major conundrum when thinking about neurobiological mechanisms in decision-making is the fact that choices are often noisy or stochastic. A different network of regions in precuneus, left prefrontal, and temproparietal cortex reflected endogenous inequity aversion across subjects, illustrating that even within the context of a specific task, preferences for the same stimulus feature can be expressed in different regions and modulated in a distinct manner. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.