Dissociable neural mechanisms track evidence accumulation for selection of attention versus action

Amitai Shenhav, Mark A. Straccia, Sebastian Musslick, Jonathan D. Cohen, Matthew M. Botvinick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Decision-making is typically studied as a sequential process from the selection of what to attend (e.g., between possible tasks, stimuli, or stimulus attributes) to which actions to take based on the attended information. However, people often process information across these various levels in parallel. Here we scan participants while they simultaneously weigh how much to attend to two dynamic stimulus attributes and what response to give. Regions of the prefrontal cortex track information about the stimulus attributes in dissociable ways, related to either the predicted reward (ventromedial prefrontal cortex) or the degree to which that attribute is being attended (dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, dACC). Within the dACC, adjacent regions track correlates of uncertainty at different levels of the decision, regarding what to attend versus how to respond. These findings bridge research on perceptual and value-based decision-making, demonstrating that people dynamically integrate information in parallel across different levels of decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2485
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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