Computational roles for dopamine in behavioural control

Nature. 2004 Oct 14;431(7010):760-7. doi: 10.1038/nature03015.


Neuromodulators such as dopamine have a central role in cognitive disorders. In the past decade, biological findings on dopamine function have been infused with concepts taken from computational theories of reinforcement learning. These more abstract approaches have now been applied to describe the biological algorithms at play in our brains when we form value judgements and make choices. The application of such quantitative models has opened up new fields, ripe for attack by young synthesizers and theoreticians.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Choice Behavior / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology


  • Dopamine