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Neurosci Res. 2004 Jul;49(3):307-14.

Differential encoding of information about progress through multi-trial reward schedules by three groups of ventral striatal neurons.

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Neuroscience Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, 1-1-1 Umezono, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8568, Japan.


In the course of daily activity we continually judge whether the goal sought is worth the work that must be done to obtain it. The ventral striatum is thought to play a central role in making such judgments. When reward schedules are used to investigate these judgments ventral striatum neurons show responses near the time of the cue, the bar-release, and/or the reward delivery. We evaluated the type of coding that occurs at these three time points by using codes or factorizations with: (1) two states for reward versus non-reward, (2) four states for the progress in the reward schedule, and (3) six states for all of the states of the schedule, quantified using information theory and ANOVA. For the bar-release- and reward-related responses the percent variance explained was as high for the two states code as with the six states code. The information for the four state code rose slightly but significantly for the bar-release-related neurons. For the cue-related neurons the code with six states carried more information than the simpler codes. Thus, responses at different times appear to play different roles. Responses occurring early in trials differentiate all states, i.e., the path to a reward, whereas those late in trials code knowledge of impending reward.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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