Activities and Seminars

Ignacio Saez, PhD. Value-based computations in the human brain revealed by intracranial recording techniques
Date: Jun 13, 2016

What: Value-based computations in the human brain revealed by intracranial recording techniques

Where: BCBL Auditorium

Who: Ignacio Saez, PhD. Neuroeconomics Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, United States

When: 12 PM

Generating adaptive decision-making in a complex, uncertain world is a fundamental skill essential for survival and reproduction. Multiple brain systems interplay to solve this problem, but studying them directly in human beings is challenging due to the difficulties of collecting neurophysiological data. However, the application of neurosurgical interventions for treatment of a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders provides a unique opportunity to carry out recordings of neural activity in human brains with high temporal resolution.

I will present data from two different approaches using intracranial recordings in patients undergoing deep-brain stimulation (DBS) or electrocorticography (ECoG) surgery for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease and intractable epilepsy, respectively. Patients played simple decision-making games in which they made decisions and experienced gains and losses. We related neural activations to behavior using computational models of valuation and choice, and show multiple computations are represented in the striatum and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) of human patients.

These studies demonstrate the feasibility of combining computational models of valuation with intracranial recordings in neurosurgical patients, which opens the door to examining the contribution of cortical and subcortical brain areas to key human functions, from representing abstract rewards to strategizing in social contexts, that have poor analogues in model organisms.