Lieu: Brunoy

Abstract: Decision making crucially relies upon the arbitrage between costs and benefits. This notion is central in most disciplines interested in behavior but paradoxically, the neurobiological substrate of effort remain very unclear compared to that of reward. I will describe a series of experiments in rhesus monkeys (macaca mulatta) aimed at understanding how the brain adjusts behavioral and autonomic responses as a function of effort costs and reward benefits. By combining neurophysiology and pharmacology in a variety of tasks, we showed a clear functional complementarity between the 2 major catecholaminergic neuromodulators, dopamine (DA) and noradrenaline (NA). Indeed, the former is strongly associated with reward whereas the second is strongly associated with effort. We also examined neural activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC), a key region for subjective evaluation and decision making. Our data indicate that neurons in this region slowly integrate information about outcome value to guide actions in a context-dependent manner. Altogether, this work provides both original insight and questions on the neurobiological constraints governing the adjustment of behavior as a function of expected costs and benefits.