In real life, humans make decisions by taking into account multiple independent factors, such as delay and probability. Cognitive psychology suggests that cognitive control mechanisms play a key role when facing such complex task conditions. However, in value-based decision-making, it still remains unclear to what extent cognitive control mechanisms become essential when the task condition is complex. In this study, we investigated decision-making behaviors and underlying neural mechanisms using a multifactor gambling task where participants simultaneously considered probability and delay. Decision-making behavior in the multifactor task was modulated by both probability and delay. The behavioral effect of probability was stronger than delay, consistent with previous studies. Furthermore, in a subset of conditions that recruited fronto-parietal activations, reaction times were paradoxically elongated despite lower probabilistic uncertainty. Notably, such a reaction time elongation did not occur in control tasks involving single factors. Meta-analysis of brain activations suggested an interpretation that the paradoxical increase of reaction time may be associated with strategy switching. Consistent with this interpretation, logistic regression analysis of the behavioral data suggested a presence of multiple decision strategies. Taken together, we found that a novel complex value-based decision-making task cause prominent activations in fronto-parietal cortex. Furthermore, we propose that these activations can be interpreted as recruitment of cognitive control system in complex situations.
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