Neural Dynamics Underlying Impaired Autonomic and Conditioned Responses Following Amygdala and Orbitofrontal Lesions
Dranias, Mark R.
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A neural model is presented that explains how outcome-specific learning modulates affect, decision-making and Pavlovian conditioned approach responses. The model addresses how brain regions responsible for affective learning and habit learning interact, and answers a central question: What are the relative contributions of the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex to emotion and behavior? In the model, the amygdala calculates outcome value while the orbitofrontal cortex influences attention and conditioned responding by assigning value information to stimuli. Model simulations replicate autonomic, electrophysiological, and behavioral data associated with three tasks commonly used to assay these phenomena: Food consumption, Pavlovian conditioning, and visual discrimination. Interactions of the basal ganglia and amygdala with sensory and orbitofrontal cortices enable the model to replicate the complex pattern of spared and impaired behavioral and emotional capacities seen following lesions of the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex.