Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Neurosci. 2013 Nov 27;33(48):18932-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2749-13.2013.

Serotonin and aversive Pavlovian control of instrumental behavior in humans.

Author information

Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging and Department of Psychiatry, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit and Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UCL, WC1N 3AR, London, United Kingdom, Translational Neuromodeling Unit, ETH, University of Zurich, CH-8032 Zurich, Switzerland, and Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, University Hospital of Psychiatry Zurich, CH-8032 Zurich, Switzerland.


Adaptive decision-making involves interaction between systems regulating Pavlovian and instrumental control of behavior. Here we investigate in humans the role of serotonin in such Pavlovian-instrumental transfer in both the aversive and the appetitive domain using acute tryptophan depletion, known to lower central serotonin levels. Acute tryptophan depletion attenuated the inhibiting effect of aversive Pavlovian cues on instrumental behavior, while leaving unaltered the activating effect of appetitive Pavlovian cues. These data suggest that serotonin is selectively involved in Pavlovian inhibition due to aversive expectations and have implications for our understanding of the mechanisms underlying a range of affective, impulsive, and aggressive neuropsychiatric disorders.


Pavlovian; aversive; inhibition; instrumental; serotonin; tryptophan depletion

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center