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Trends Neurosci. 2003 Sep;26(9):507-13.

Parsing reward.

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Department of Psychology, Biopsychology Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1109, USA.

Erratum in

  • Trends Neurosci. 2003 Nov;26(11):581.


Advances in neurobiology permit neuroscientists to manipulate specific brain molecules, neurons and systems. This has lead to major advances in the neuroscience of reward. Here, it is argued that further advances will require equal sophistication in parsing reward into its specific psychological components: (1) learning (including explicit and implicit knowledge produced by associative conditioning and cognitive processes); (2) affect or emotion (implicit 'liking' and conscious pleasure) and (3) motivation (implicit incentive salience 'wanting' and cognitive incentive goals). The challenge is to identify how different brain circuits mediate different psychological components of reward, and how these components interact.

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