Category: Dopamine and the meaning of life

  • A distributional code for value in dopamine-based reinforcement learning

    Since its introduction, the reward prediction error theory of dopamine has explained a wealth of empirical phenomena, providing a unifying framework for understanding the representation of reward and value in the brain1,2,3. According to the now canonical theory, reward predictions are represented as a single scalar quantity, which supports learning about the expectation, or mean, […]

  • A Neural Substrate of Prediction and Reward

    The capacity to predict future events permits a creature to detect, model, and manipulate the causal structure of its interactions with its environment. Behavioral experiments suggest that learning is driven by changes in the expectations about future salient events such as rewards and punishments. Physiological work has recently complemented these studies by identifying dopaminergic neurons […]

  • Striatal dopaminergic modulation of reinforcement learning predicts reward—oriented behavior in daily life

    Much human behavior is driven by rewards. Preclinical neurophysiological and clinical positron emission tomography (PET) studies have implicated striatal phasic dopamine (DA) release as a primary modulator of reward processing. However, the relationship between experimental reward-induced striatal DA release and responsiveness to naturalistic rewards, and therefore functional relevance of these findings, has been elusive. The […]

  • How Psychedelics Bind to Key Brain Cell Receptor

    Psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline cause severe and often long-lasting hallucinations, but they show great potential in treating serious psychiatric conditions, such as major depressive disorder. To fully investigate this potential, scientists need to know how these drugs interact with brain cells at the molecular level to cause their dramatic biological effects. […]

  • Unexpected differences between rats and mice gives new insight into the male parental brain

    By making use of an unexpected species difference between rats and mice, scientists have identified a system in the brain that controls how males behave when they become fathers. A central component in this system is the hormone, prolactin, which has previously been shown to prepare the female for motherhood. The researchers were also able […]

  • Children Will Wait to Impress Others—Another Twist on the Classic Marshmallow Test

    Individuals who can unconsciously predict complex patterns, an ability called implicit pattern learning, are likely to hold stronger beliefs that there is a god who creates patterns of events in the universe, according to neuroscientists at Georgetown University.

  • When Doing Good Boosts Health, Well-Being

    Performing acts of kindness and helping other people can be good for people’s health and well-being, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. But not all good-hearted behavior is equally beneficial to the giver. The strength of the link depends on many factors, including the type of kindness, the definition of well-being, and […]

  • Hormones control paternal interest in offspring

    Basing their research on an unexpected interspecies difference between rats and mice, researchers at Karolinska Institute and Stockholm University have mapped a system in the brain that controls paternal behaviour towards offspring. A key component in this behaviour is the hormone prolactin, which prepares females for motherhood and has now been shown to control paternal […]