A new paper led by Ruoguang Si is published on Neuroimage. This meta-analysis study identified 35 fMRI/PET experiments using various free-choice paradigms, in which participants choose among options with identical values or outcomes.
An Activation Likelihood Estimate (ALE) meta-analysis showed that, compared with external instructions, intentional decisions consistently activate the medial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the left insula and the inferior parietal lobule. We then categorized the studies into four different types according to their experimental designs: reactive motor intention, perceptual intention, inhibitory intention, and cognitive intention. We conducted conjunction and contrast meta-analyses to identify consistent and selective spatial convergence of brain activation within each specific category of intentional decision. Finally, we used meta-analytic decoding to probe cognitive processes underlying free choices. Our findings suggest that the neurocognitive process underlying intentional decision incorporates anatomically separated components subserving distinct cognitive and computational roles.
The paper is now available online.