Altered monetary loss processing and reinforcement-based learning in individuals with obesity
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Academic › peer-review
Individuals with obesity are often characterized by alterations in reward processing. This may affect how new information is used to update stimulus values during reinforcement-based learning. Here, we investigated obesity-related changes in non-food reinforcement processing, their impact on learning performance as well as the neural underpinnings of reinforcement-based learning in obesity. Nineteen individuals with obesity (BMI > = 30 kg/m2, 10 female) and 23 lean control participants (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2, 11 female) performed a probabilistic learning task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), in which they learned to choose between advantageous and disadvantageous choice options in separate monetary gain, loss, and neutral conditions. During learning individuals with obesity made a significantly lower number of correct choices and accumulated a significantly lower overall monetary outcome than lean control participants. FMRI analyses revealed aberrant medial prefrontal cortex responses to monetary losses in individuals with obesity. There were no significant group differences in the regional representation of prediction errors. However, we found evidence for increased functional connectivity between the ventral striatum and insula in individuals with obesity. The present results suggest that obesity is associated with aberrant value representations for monetary losses, alterations in functional connectivity during the processing of learning outcomes, as well as a decresased reinforcement-based learning performance. This may affect how new information is incorporated to adjust dysfunctional behavior and could be a factor contributing to the maintenance of dysfunctional eating behavior in obesity.
- Journal Article, Obesity, ANTERIOR INSULA, CONFIDENCE-INTERVALS, STRIATAL RESPONSE, Prediction error, NEURAL BASIS, NUCLEUS-ACCUMBENS, Money, POSITRON-EMISSION-TOMOGRAPHY, REWARD PREDICTION ERRORS, DECISION-MAKING, Reinforcement, SEEKING BEHAVIOR, Reward, Fmri, WORKING-MEMORY