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Annu Rev Neurosci. 2009;32:95-126. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.051508.135607.

Serotonin in affective control.

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Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, University College London, London WC1N3AR, UK.


Serotonin is a neuromodulator that is extensively entangled in fundamental aspects of brain function and behavior. We present a computational view of its involvement in the control of appetitively and aversively motivated actions. We first describe a range of its effects in invertebrates, endowing specific structurally fixed networks with plasticity at multiple spatial and temporal scales. We then consider its rather widespread distribution in the mammalian brain. We argue that this is associated with a more unified representational and functional role in aversive processing that is amenable to computational analyses with the kinds of reinforcement learning techniques that have helped elucidate dopamine's role in appetitive behavior. Finally, we suggest that it is only a partial reflection of dopamine because of essential asymmetries between the natural statistics of rewards and punishments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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