The basal ganglia: learning new tricks and loving it

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2005 Dec;15(6):638-44. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2005.10.006. Epub 2005 Nov 3.


The field of basal ganglia research is exploding on every level - from discoveries at the molecular level to those based on human brain imaging. A remarkable series of new findings support the view that the basal ganglia are essential for some forms of learning-related plasticity. Other new findings are challenging some of the basic tenets of the field as it now stands. Combined with the new evidence on learning-related functions of the basal ganglia, these studies suggest that the basal ganglia are parts of a brain-wide set of adaptive neural systems promoting optimal motor and cognitive control.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / anatomy & histology
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology*
  • Cerebellum / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Efferent Pathways / physiology
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Reinforcement, Psychology