We test the emerging hypothesis that prefrontal cortical mechanisms involved in non-veridical decision making do not overlap with those of veridical decision making. Healthy female subjects performed an experimental task assessing free choice, agent-centered decision making (The Cognitive Bias Task) and a veridical control task related to visuospatial working memory (the Moving Spot Task). Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was applied to the left and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) using 1 Hz and 10 Hz (intermittent) rTMS and sham protocols. Both 1 Hz and 10 Hz stimulation of the DLPFC triggered a shift towards a more context-independent, internal representations driven non-veridical selection bias. A significantly reduced preference for choosing objects based on similarity was detected, following both 1 Hz and 10 Hz treatment of the right as well as 1 Hz rTMS of the left DLPFC. 1 Hz rTMS treatment of the right DLPFC also triggered a significant improvement in visuospatial working memory performance on the veridical task. The effects induced by prefrontal TMS mimicked those of posterior lesions, suggesting that prefrontal stimulation influenced neuronal activity in remote cortical regions interconnected with the stimulation site via longitudinal fasciculi.
- Agent-centered decision making
- Cognitive bias task
- Decision making
- Moving spot task
- Prefrontal cortex
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
ASJC Scopus subject areas