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  Episodic simulations reveal the structure of affective representations in ventromedial prefrontal cortex

Paulus, P. C., Charest, I., & Benoit, R. G. (2018). Episodic simulations reveal the structure of affective representations in ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Poster presented at 8th IMPRS NeuroCom Summer School, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-F4B5-E Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-9B39-E
Genre: Poster

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 Creators:
Paulus, Philipp C.1, Author              
Charest, Ian2, Author
Benoit, Roland G.1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Max Planck Research Group Adaptive Memory, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_2295691              
2External Organizations, ou_persistent22              

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 Abstract: The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) has been associated with mnemonic processing as well as with valuation. Here, we test the hypothesis that this region supports these seemingly disparate functions by representing affective associations of our environment. That is, we suggest that the vmPFC codes for elements from our environment (e.g., for personally familiar people and places) such that the representational geometry of those elements is determined by (i) the relative position of the elements within their network (e.g., how central a person is to an individual’s social sphere), (ii) the degree of knowledge about those elements, and (iii) their affective value. To test this hypothesis, participants provided names of personally familiar people and places. They then arranged the names on a two-dimensional surface to indicate how strongly they associate these elements with each other (indexing degrees of centrality). Participants also indicated how familiar they are with each person and each place (indexing degrees of knowledge), and how much they like them (indexing affective value). We then aggregated centrality, familiarity, and liking to estimate the structure of participants’ unique affective associative representations. In a following functional MRI session, participants vividly imagined interacting with each person and place, which allowed us to assess each element’s neural representation. Using representational similarity analysis, we then examined the representational geometry of these elements. Preliminary analyses support our hypothesis: the structure of the neural representations in the vmPFC indeed seems to reflect the cognitive structure of the estimated affective representations.

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 Dates: 2018-06-27
 Publication Status: Not specified
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Title: 8th IMPRS NeuroCom Summer School
Place of Event: Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany
Start-/End Date: 2018-06-26 - 2018-06-28

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