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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1997 Apr;7(2):191-7.

Dopamine neurons and their role in reward mechanisms.

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  • 1Institute of Physiology, University of Fribourg, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland.


Information related to rewards is processed by a limited number of brain structures. Recent studies have demonstrated that dopamine neurons respond to appetitive events, such as primary rewards and reward-predicting stimuli. Rather than responding unconditionally, these neurons signal deviations from the prediction of future appetitive events. These reward-related responses correspond formally to concepts of behavioral and computational learning theories and may thus constitute teaching signals for appetitive learning.

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