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J Neurophysiol. 2000 Dec;84(6):3072-7.

Tracking the hemodynamic responses to reward and punishment in the striatum.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh and Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA.


Research suggests that the basal ganglia complex is a major component of the neural circuitry that mediates reward-related processing. However, human studies have not yet characterized the response of the basal ganglia to an isolated reward, as has been done in animals. We developed an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging paradigm to identify brain areas that are activated after presentation of a reward. Subjects guessed whether the value of a card was higher or lower than the number 5, with monetary rewards as an incentive for correct guesses. They received reward, punishment, or neutral feedback on different trials. Regions in the dorsal and ventral striatum were activated by the paradigm, showing differential responses to reward and punishment. Activation was sustained following a reward feedback, but decreased below baseline following a punishment feedback.

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