Cell Rep. 2023 Jul 25;42(8):112865. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2023.112865. Online ahead of print.
Social decision making requires the integration of reward valuation and social cognition systems, both dependent on the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). How these two OFC functions interact is largely unknown. We recorded intracranial activity from the OFC of ten patients making choices in a social context where reward inequity with a social counterpart varied and could be either advantageous or disadvantageous. We find that OFC high-frequency activity (HFA; 70-150 Hz) encodes self-reward, consistent with previous reports. We also observe encoding of the social counterpart’s reward, as well as the type of inequity being experienced. Additionally, we find evidence of inequity-dependent reward encoding: depending on the type of inequity, electrodes rapidly and reversibly switch between different reward-encoding profiles. These results provide direct evidence for encoding of self- and other rewards in the human OFC and highlight the dynamic nature of encoding in the OFC as a function of social context.