Natural Rationality | decision-making in the economy of nature


Values and regrets

Regret, from a decision-making point of view, is a countefactual post-hoc valuation of a decision. Regret and rejoicing are two varieties of remembered utility. Without a doubt, neuroeconomics can be informative about the neural mechanisms of regrets. As I once argued, however, we need a neuroeconomic account of valuation with clear distinction between differnt processes, mechanisms and functions, and between the different contributions of neural structures. A nice example:

In this paper:

it is said that "a cortical network, consisting of the medial orbitofrontal cortex, left superior frontal cortex, right angular gyrus, and left thalamus, correlates with the degree of regret. A different network, including the rostral anterior cingulate, left hippocampus, left ventral striatum, and brain stem/midbrain correlated with rejoice."

But, in another paper, regret, or its computational cousin "fictive learning signals", is now an outcome of midbrain dopaminergic systems:

How to fit it all together? I am not sure yet but here are 2 possibilities:

1-a "same-level" explanation: dopaminergic systems and cortical networks contribute together to the feeling, emotions, and processing of regret/rejoicing. They are two faces of the same coin.

2-a "different-level" explanation: dopaminergic systems and cortical networks are two layers in a hierarchical multi-level architecture (that may have other level, e.g. molecular, etc.).

suggestions, ideas?