The amygdala plays an important role in the computation of internal reward signals. In animals it has been shown to enable a stimulus to indicate the current value of a reinforcer. However, the exact nature of the current value representations in humans remains unknown. Specifically, do neurons of the human amygdala represent current value signals only in tasks requiring valuation? We recorded from 406 neurons in the amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, parahippocampal cortex, entorhinal cortex, and hippocampus of 6 neurosurgical patients while subjects repeatedly viewed 40 different pictures of sweet or salty "junk food" items in 2 different tasks. Neural activity during stimulus inspection in a valuation task reflected food preferences in the amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, hippocampus, and entorhinal cortex. Notably, only left amygdala activity represented these food preferences even in a sweet-salty classification task. Valuation signals of the left amygdala thus appear to be stimulus-, not-Task driven.
- Reward value
- Single units