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The Orbitofrontal Cortex$
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David Zald and Scott Rauch

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198565741

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198565741.001.0001

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Visceral and decision-making functions of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex

Visceral and decision-making functions of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex

(p.325) Chapter 13 Visceral and decision-making functions of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex
The Orbitofrontal Cortex

Nasir Naqvi

Daniel Tranel

Antoine Bechara

Oxford University Press

This chapter reviews the role of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) in autonomic functions and decision-making, with an emphasis on data from humans with VMPFC lesions. The somatic marker hypothesis proposes that the sensory mapping of visceral responses is important for the execution of highly complex, goal-oriented behavior. In this view, visceral responses function to ‘mark’ potential choices as being advantageous or disadvantageous. The VMPFC is well connected with visceral processing areas, and possesses both viscerosensory input and visceromotor output. The development of the Iowa Gambling Task as an index of decision making is described. Patients with VMPFC lesions show deficits in both visceromotor functions and decision-making on the Iowa Gambling Task, consistent with the somatic marker hypothesis.

Keywords:   autonomic, visceral, decision making, Iowa Gambling Task, somatic marker hypothesis, neuropsychology

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