How conditioned stimuli acquire the ability to activate VTA dopamine cells: A proposed neurobiological component of reward-related learning

  title={How conditioned stimuli acquire the ability to activate VTA dopamine cells: A proposed neurobiological component of reward-related learning},
  author={Maggie Zellner and Robert Ranaldi},
  journal={Neuroscience \& Biobehavioral Reviews},

Neurobiology of reward-related learning

Dopamine and reward seeking: the role of ventral tegmental area

  • R. Ranaldi
  • Biology, Psychology
    Reviews in the neurosciences
  • 2014
It is proposed that CSs function as such because they acquire the capacity to activate VTA DA neurons and the control by CSs of mesocorticolimbic DA systems and reward-directed behavior is proposed.

A food-associated CS activates c-Fos in VTA DA neurons and elicits conditioned approach

Motor skill learning and reward consumption differentially affect VTA activation

Results indicate that distinct populations of VTA neurons are activated by motor skill acquisition and task performance, and this activation is not merely related to consumption of food rewards.

The Functions of Dopamine in Operant Conditioned Reflexes

  • V. Maiorov
  • Psychology, Biology
    Neuroscience and Behavioral Physiology
  • 2019
From the very beginning of execution of the operant conditioned reflex, dopamine is secreted in the window between activation of the conditioned signal and the movement, where it combines “activation of the central motor system of behavior” and modulation of synaptic plasticity for further learning.



NMDA receptor antagonism in the ventral tegmental area impairs acquisition of reward-related learning

Cue-evoked firing of nucleus accumbens neurons encodes motivational significance during a discriminative stimulus task.

Results are consistent with the hypothesis that the firing of subpopulations of NAc neurons encode both the predictive value of environmental stimuli and the specific motor behaviors required to respond to them.

Ventral tegmental area neurons in learned appetitive behavior and positive reinforcement.

Identifying the neurotransmitter content and projection target of VTA neurons recorded in vivo will be critical for determining their contribution to learned appetitive behaviors.

Contrasting effects of dopamine and glutamate receptor antagonist injection in the nucleus accumbens suggest a neural mechanism underlying cue‐evoked goal‐directed behavior

It is shown in rats that DSs can reinstate food‐seeking behavior and a model for the functional role of NAc neurons in controlling behavioral responses to reward‐predictive stimuli is proposed.

Appetitive Instrumental Learning Requires Coincident Activation of NMDA and Dopamine D1 Receptors within the Medial Prefrontal Cortex

It is hypothesized that coincident detection of D1–NMDA receptor activation and its transcriptional consequences, within multiple sites of a distributed corticostriatal network, may represent a conserved molecular mechanism for instrumental learning.

The role of dopamine in locomotor activity and learning

  • R. Beninger
  • Biology, Psychology
    Brain Research Reviews
  • 1983

Mesolimbocortical and nigrostriatal dopamine responses to salient non-reward events

Dopamine Cells Respond to Predicted Events during Classical Conditioning: Evidence for Eligibility Traces in the Reward-Learning Network

It is demonstrated that the persistent reward responses of DA cells during conditioning are only accurately replicated by a TD model with long-lasting eligibility traces (nonzero values for the parameter λ) and low learning rate (α), suggesting that eligibility traces and low per-trial rates of plastic modification may be essential features of neural circuits for reward learning in the brain.

Behavioral associations of neuronal activity in the ventral tegmental area of the rat

A clear demonstration that VTA neuronal activity is modulated during motivated behavior is provided, and similar information about events within the ongoing response/reinforcement cycle appears to be distributed through many neurons within the VTA, and may be mirrored in target structures such as PFC.

Dopamine D1-like Receptors and Reward-related Incentive Learning