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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2005 Dec;15(6):638-44. Epub 2005 Nov 3.

The basal ganglia: learning new tricks and loving it.

Author information

  • Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 43 Vassar Street, 46-6133, Cambridge, MA, 02139 USA. graybiel@mit.edu


The field of basal ganglia research is exploding on every level - from discoveries at the molecular level to those based on human brain imaging. A remarkable series of new findings support the view that the basal ganglia are essential for some forms of learning-related plasticity. Other new findings are challenging some of the basic tenets of the field as it now stands. Combined with the new evidence on learning-related functions of the basal ganglia, these studies suggest that the basal ganglia are parts of a brain-wide set of adaptive neural systems promoting optimal motor and cognitive control.

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