David L. Barack, Steve W.C. Chang, Michael L. Platt
Neuron, Volume 96, Issue 2, p339–347.e5, 11 October 2017
Foraging for resources is a fundamental behavior balancing systematic search and strategic disengagement. The foraging behavior of primates is especially complex and requires long-term memory, value comparison, strategic planning, and decision-making. Here we provide evidence from two different foraging tasks that neurons in primate posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) signal decision salience during foraging to motivate disengagement from the current strategy. In our foraging tasks, salience refers to the difference between decision thresholds and the net harvested reward. Salience signals were stronger in poor foraging contexts than rich ones, suggesting low harvest rates recruit mechanisms in PCC that regulate strategic disengagement and exploration during foraging.