Expectation of reward modulates cognitive signals in the basal ganglia

Nat Neurosci. 1998 Sep;1(5):411-6. doi: 10.1038/1625.


Action is controlled by both motivation and cognition. The basal ganglia may be the site where these kinds of information meet. Using a memory-guided saccade task with an asymmetric reward schedule, we show that visual and memory responses of caudate neurons are modulated by expectation of reward so profoundly that a neuron's preferred direction often changed with the change in the rewarded direction. The subsequent saccade to the target was earlier and faster for the rewarded direction. Our results indicate that the caudate contributes to the determination of oculomotor outputs by connecting motivational values (for example, expectation of reward) to visual information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology*
  • Caudate Nucleus / cytology
  • Caudate Nucleus / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Macaca
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Motivation*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Reward*
  • Saccades / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology