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Contributions of anterior cingulate cortex and basolateral amygdala to decision confidence and learning under uncertainty.


The subjective sense of certainty, or confidence, in ambiguous sensory cues can alter the interpretation of reward feedback and facilitate learning. We trained rats to report the orientation of ambiguous visual stimuli according to a spatial stimulus-response rule that must be learned. Following choice, rats could wait a self-timed delay for reward or initiate a new trial. Waiting times increase with discrimination accuracy, demonstrating that this measure can be used as a proxy for confidence. Chemogenetic silencing of BLA shortens waiting times overall whereas ACC inhibition renders waiting times insensitive to confidence-modulating attributes of visual stimuli, suggesting contribution of ACC but not BLA to confidence computations. Subsequent reversal learning is enhanced by confidence. Both ACC and BLA inhibition block this enhancement but via differential adjustments in learning strategies and consistent use of learned rules. Altogether, we demonstrate dissociable roles for ACC and BLA in transmitting confidence and learning under uncertainty.

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