Neural Mechanisms of Reward-Related Motor Learning

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2003 Dec;13(6):685-90. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2003.10.013.


The analysis of the neural mechanisms responsible for reward-related learning has benefited from recent studies of the effects of dopamine on synaptic plasticity. Dopamine-dependent synaptic plasticity may lead to strengthening of selected inputs on the basis of an activity-dependent conjunction of sensory afferent activity, motor output activity, and temporally related firing of dopamine cells. Such plasticity may provide a link between the reward-related firing of dopamine cells and the acquisition of changes in striatal cell activity during learning. This learning mechanism may play a special role in the translation of reward signals into context-dependent response probability or directional bias in movement responses.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Reward