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Neuron. 2010 Jul 15;67(1):25-32. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.06.023.

Triple dissociation of information processing in dorsal striatum, ventral striatum, and hippocampus on a learned spatial decision task.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Decision-making studies across different domains suggest that decisions can arise from multiple, parallel systems in the brain: a flexible system utilizing action-outcome expectancies and a more rigid system based on situation-action associations. The hippocampus, ventral striatum, and dorsal striatum make unique contributions to each system, but how information processing in each of these structures supports these systems is unknown. Recent work has shown covert representations of future paths in hippocampus and of future rewards in ventral striatum. We developed analyses in order to use a comparative methodology and apply the same analyses to all three structures. Covert representations of future paths and reward were both absent from the dorsal striatum. In contrast, dorsal striatum slowly developed situation representations that selectively represented action-rich parts of the task. This triple dissociation suggests that the different roles these structures play are due to differences in information-processing mechanisms.

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