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Frontopolar theta oscillations link metacognition with prospective decision making


Soutschek, Alexander; Moisa, Marius; Ruff, Christian C; Tobler, Philippe N (2021). Frontopolar theta oscillations link metacognition with prospective decision making. Nature Communications, 12(3943):online.

Abstract

Prospective decision making considers the future consequences of actions and therefore requires agents to represent their present subjective preferences reliably across time. Here, we test the link of frontopolar theta oscillations to both metacognitive ability and prospective choice behavior. We target these oscillations with transcranial alternating current stimulation while participants make decisions between smaller-sooner and larger-later monetary rewards and rate their choice confidence after each decision. Stimulation designed to enhance frontopolar theta oscillations increases metacognitive accuracy in reports of subjective uncertainty in intertemporal decisions. Moreover, the stimulation also enhances the willingness of participants to restrict their future access to short-term gratification by strengthening the awareness of potential preference reversals. Our results suggest a mechanistic link between frontopolar theta oscillations and metacognitive knowledge about the stability of subjective value representations, providing a potential explanation for why frontopolar cortex also shields prospective decision making against future temptation.

Abstract

Prospective decision making considers the future consequences of actions and therefore requires agents to represent their present subjective preferences reliably across time. Here, we test the link of frontopolar theta oscillations to both metacognitive ability and prospective choice behavior. We target these oscillations with transcranial alternating current stimulation while participants make decisions between smaller-sooner and larger-later monetary rewards and rate their choice confidence after each decision. Stimulation designed to enhance frontopolar theta oscillations increases metacognitive accuracy in reports of subjective uncertainty in intertemporal decisions. Moreover, the stimulation also enhances the willingness of participants to restrict their future access to short-term gratification by strengthening the awareness of potential preference reversals. Our results suggest a mechanistic link between frontopolar theta oscillations and metacognitive knowledge about the stability of subjective value representations, providing a potential explanation for why frontopolar cortex also shields prospective decision making against future temptation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > General Chemistry
Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Physical Sciences > General Physics and Astronomy
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cognitive neuroscience, motivation
Language:English
Date:24 June 2021
Deposited On:23 Aug 2021 10:53
Last Modified:25 Aug 2021 10:36
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2041-1723
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24197-3

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