Dynamic brain mapping of behavior change: Tracking response initiation and inhibition to changes in reinforcement rate

Michael W. Schlund, Sandy Magee, Caleb D. Hudgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Adaptive behavior change is supported by executive control processes distributed throughout a prefrontal-striatal-parietal network. Yet, the temporal dynamics of regions in the network have not been characterized. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we tracked changes brain activation while subjects initiated and inhibited responding in accordance with changes in reinforcement rate. During imaging, subjects completed a free-operant task that involved repeated transitions between fixed-ratio reinforcement and extinction (RF:EXT), where reinforcement rate decreased and responding was inhibited, and between extinction and fixed-ratio reinforcement (EXT:RF), where reinforcement rate increased and responding was initiated. Our whole-brain temporal assessment revealed that transitions which required initiating and inhibiting responding prompted positive phasic responses in a prefrontal-parietal network, the insula and thalamus. However, response initiation prompted by an increase in reinforcement rate during the EXT:RF transition elicited positive phasic responses in reward-sensitive striatal regions. Furthermore, response inhibition prompted by a decrease in reinforcement rate during the RF:EXT transition elicited negative phasic responses in ventral frontal regions sensitive to value and contingency. Our findings highlight the temporal dynamics of a brain network that supports behavioral changes (initiation and inhibition) resulting from changes in local reinforcement rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-211
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012


  • Behavior change, fMRI
  • Decision making
  • Extinction
  • Fixed-ratio
  • Free-operant
  • Neuroimaging
  • Reinforcement
  • Response inhibition
  • Reversal learning
  • Reward

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamic brain mapping of behavior change: Tracking response initiation and inhibition to changes in reinforcement rate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this