Metalearning and neuromodulation

Neural Netw. 2002 Jun-Jul;15(4-6):495-506. doi: 10.1016/s0893-6080(02)00044-8.


This paper presents a computational theory on the roles of the ascending neuromodulatory systems from the viewpoint that they mediate the global signals that regulate the distributed learning mechanisms in the brain. Based on the review of experimental data and theoretical models, it is proposed that dopamine signals the error in reward prediction, serotonin controls the time scale of reward prediction, noradrenaline controls the randomness in action selection, and acetylcholine controls the speed of memory update. The possible interactions between those neuromodulators and the environment are predicted on the basis of computational theory of metalearning.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents