The Impact of the Posterior Parietal and Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortices on the Optimization of Long-Term versus Immediate Value
Brian G. Essex, Sarah A. Clinton, Lucas R. Wonderley, and David H. Zald
J. Neurosci. 2012;32 15403-15413
fMRI research suggests that both the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) help individuals select better long-term monetary gains during intertemporal choice. Previous neuromodulation research has demonstrated that disruption of the DLPFC interferes with this ability. However, it is unclear whether the PPC performs a similarly important function during intertemporal choice, and whether the functions performed by either region impact choices involving losses. In the current study, we used low-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to examine whether the PPC and DLPFC both normally facilitate selection of gains and losses with better long-term value than alternatives during intertemporal choice. We found that disruption of either region in the right hemisphere led to greater selection of both gains and losses that had better immediate, but worse long-term value than alternatives. This indicates that activity in both regions helps individuals optimize long-term value relative to immediate value in general, rather than being specific to choices involving gains. However, there were slightly different patterns of effects following disruption of the right PPC and right DLPFC, suggesting that each region may perform somewhat different functions that help optimize choice.