BOLD responses reflecting dopaminergic signals in the human ventral tegmental area

Kimberlee McClure, Samuel McClure, Leigh E. Nystrom, Jonathan D. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

435 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Current theories hypothesize that dopamine neuronal firing encodes reward prediction errors. Although studies in nonhuman species provide direct support for this theory, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies in humans have focused on brain areas targeted by dopamine neurons [ventral striatum (VStr)] rather than on brainstem dopaminergic nuclei [ventral tegmental area (VTA) and substantia nigra]. We used fMRI tailored to directly image the brainstem. When primary rewards were used in an experiment, the VTA blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) response reflected a positive reward prediction error, whereas the VStr encoded positive and negative reward prediction errors. When monetary gains and losses were used, VTA BOLD responses reflected positive reward prediction errors modulated by the probability of winning. We detected no significant VTA BOLD response to nonrewarding events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1264-1267
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume319
Issue number5867
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 29 2008
Externally publishedYes

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Ventral Tegmental Area
Reward
Oxygen
Brain Stem
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Dopaminergic Neurons
Substantia Nigra
Dopamine
Brain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

BOLD responses reflecting dopaminergic signals in the human ventral tegmental area. / McClure, Kimberlee; McClure, Samuel; Nystrom, Leigh E.; Cohen, Jonathan D.

In: Science, Vol. 319, No. 5867, 29.02.2008, p. 1264-1267.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

McClure, Kimberlee ; McClure, Samuel ; Nystrom, Leigh E. ; Cohen, Jonathan D. / BOLD responses reflecting dopaminergic signals in the human ventral tegmental area. In: Science. 2008 ; Vol. 319, No. 5867. pp. 1264-1267.
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