Nuclei accumbens phase synchrony predicts decision-making reversals following negative feedback

Michael X. Cohen, Nikolai Axmacher, Doris Lenartz, Christian E. Elger, Volker Sturm, Thomas E. Schlaepfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The nucleus accumbens plays a key role in reinforcement-guided behaviors. Here, we report that electrophysiological oscillatory phase synchrony between the two nuclei accumbens may play a crucial role in using negative feedback to guide decision making. We recorded local field potentials from the human nucleus accumbens and the medial frontal cortex (via surface EEG) from patients who had deep brain stimulation electrodes implanted. Patients performed a reversal learning task in which they decided whether to alter their decision strategy following monetary losses. Strategy switches following losses were preceded by enhanced theta (4-8 Hz) phase synchrony between the nuclei accumbens, and a break-down ofgamma(20-80 Hz)-α(8-12 Hz) coupling. Furthermore, the strength of the intersite phase synchrony predicted response time adjustments in the subsequent trial. These findings suggest that a neural network including the nucleus accumbens bilaterally becomes functionally connected via theta phase synchrony to signal the need to adjust behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7591-7598
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 10 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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