Nat Neurosci. 2023 Aug 10. doi: 10.1038/s41593-023-01407-3. Online ahead of print.
During decision-making, neurons in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) sequentially represent the value of each option in turn, but it is unclear how these dynamics are translated into a choice response. One brain region that may be implicated in this process is the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which strongly connects with OFC and contains many neurons that encode the choice response. We investigated how OFC value signals interacted with ACC neurons encoding the choice response by performing simultaneous high-channel count recordings from the two areas in nonhuman primates. ACC neurons encoding the choice response steadily increased their firing rate throughout the decision-making process, peaking shortly before the time of the choice response. Furthermore, the value dynamics in OFC affected ACC ramping-when OFC represented the more valuable option, ACC ramping accelerated. Because OFC tended to represent the more valuable option more frequently and for a longer duration, this interaction could explain how ACC selects the more valuable response.