Multiple reward signals in the brain

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2000 Dec;1(3):199-207. doi: 10.1038/35044563.


The fundamental biological importance of rewards has created an increasing interest in the neuronal processing of reward information. The suggestion that the mechanisms underlying drug addiction might involve natural reward systems has also stimulated interest. This article focuses on recent neurophysiological studies in primates that have revealed that neurons in a limited number of brain structures carry specific signals about past and future rewards. This research provides the first step towards an understanding of how rewards influence behaviour before they are received and how the brain might use reward information to control learning and goal-directed behaviour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Reward*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*