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Keywords:

  • anterior cingulate cortex;
  • decision making;
  • emotion;
  • medial orbitofrontal cortex;
  • social cognition

Abstract

It has been claimed that social behaviour changes after lesions of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). However, lesions in humans are rarely restricted to a well defined cortical area. Although vmPFC lesions usually include medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC), they typically also affect subgenual and/or perigenual anterior cingulate cortex. The purpose of the current study is to investigate the role of mOFC in social valuation and decision-making. We tested four macaque monkeys prior to and after focal lesions of mOFC. Comparison of the animals’ pre- and postoperative performance revealed that, unlike lesions of anterior cingulate gyrus (ACCg), lesions of mOFC did not induce alterations in social valuation. MOFC lesions did, however, induce mild impairments in a probabilistic two-choice decision task, which were not seen after ACCg lesions. In summary, the double dissociation between the patterns of impairment suggest that vmPFC involvement in both decision-making and social valuation may be mediated by distinct subregions centred on mOFC and ACCg respectively.