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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2017 Oct;46:142-153. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2017.08.014. Epub 2017 Sep 9.

Misdeed of the need: towards computational accounts of transition to addiction.

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Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, University College London, London, UK.
Université de Bordeaux, Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, UMR 5293, 146 rue Léo-Saignat, F-33000 Bordeaux, France; CNRS, Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives, UMR 5293, 146 rue Léo-Saignat, F-33000 Bordeaux, France.
Group for Neural Theory, Laboratoire de Neurosciences Cognitives, ENS, INSERM, PSL Research University, 75005 Paris, France; Center for Cognition and Decision Making, Department of Psychology, NRU Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia. Electronic address:


Drug addiction is a complex behavioral and neurobiological disorder which, in an emergent brain-circuit view, reflects a loss of prefrontal top-down control over subcortical circuits governing drug-seeking and drug-taking. We first review previous computational accounts of addiction, focusing on cocaine addiction and on prevalent dopamine-based positive-reinforcement and negative-reinforcement computational models. Then, we discuss a recent computational proposal that the progression to addiction is unlikely to result from a complete withdrawal of the goal-oriented decision system in favor the habitual one. Rather, the transition to addiction would arise from a drug-induced alteration in the structure of organismal needs which reorganizes the goal structure, ultimately favoring predominance of drug-oriented goals. Finally, we outline unmet challenges for future computational research on addiction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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