Causal investigations into orbitofrontal control of human decision making

James D. Howard, Thorsten Kahnt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Although it is widely accepted that the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is important for decision making, its precise contribution to behavior remains a topic of debate. While many loss of function experiments have been conducted in animals, causal studies of human OFC function are relatively scarce. This review discusses recent causal investigations into the human OFC, with an emphasis on advances in network-based brain stimulation approaches to indirectly perturb OFC function. Findings show that disruption of human OFC impairs decisions that require mental simulation of outcomes. Taken together, these results support the idea that human OFC contributes to decision making by representing a cognitive map of the task environment, facilitating inference of outcomes not yet experienced. Future work may utilize similar non-invasive approaches in clinical settings to mitigate decision making deficits in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-19
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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