Orbitofrontal cortex and basolateral amygdala encode expected outcomes during learning

Geoffrey Schoenbaum, Andrea A. Chiba, Michela Gallagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

661 Scopus citations


Reciprocal connections between the orbitofrontal cortex and the basolateral nucleus of the amygdala may provide a critical circuit for the learning that underlies goal-directed behavior. We examined neural activity in rat orbitofrontal cortex and basolateral amygdala during instrumental learning in an olfactory discrimination task. Neurons in both regions fired selectively during the anticipation of rewarding or aversive outcomes. This selective activity emerged early in training, before the rats had learned reliably to avoid the aversive outcome. The results support the concept that the basolateral amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex cooperate to encode information that may be used to guide goal-directed behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-159
Number of pages5
JournalNature neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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