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Separate mesocortical and mesolimbic pathways encode effort and reward learning signals

Hauser, TU; Eldar, E; Dolan, RJ; (2017) Separate mesocortical and mesolimbic pathways encode effort and reward learning signals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 114 (35) E7395-E7404. 10.1073/pnas.1705643114. Green open access

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Abstract

Optimal decision making mandates organisms learn the relevant features of choice options. Likewise, knowing how much effort we should expend can assume paramount importance. A mesolimbic network supports reward learning, but it is unclear whether other choice features, such as effort learning, rely on this same network. Using computational fMRI, we show parallel encoding of effort and reward prediction errors (PEs) within distinct brain regions, with effort PEs expressed in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and reward PEs in ventral striatum. We show a common mesencephalic origin for these signals evident in overlapping, but spatially dissociable, dopaminergic midbrain regions expressing both types of PE. During action anticipation, reward and effort expectations were integrated in ventral striatum, consistent with a computation of an overall net benefit of a stimulus. Thus, we show that motivationally relevant stimulus features are learned in parallel dopaminergic pathways, with formation of an integrated utility signal at choice.

Type: Article
Title: Separate mesocortical and mesolimbic pathways encode effort and reward learning signals
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1705643114
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1705643114
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Effort prediction errors, reward prediction errors, apathy, substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area, dorsomedial prefrontal cortex
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1570993
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