Valence and salience contribute to nucleus accumbens activation

Neuroimage. 2008 Jan 1;39(1):538-47. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.08.009. Epub 2007 Aug 23.


Different accounts of nucleus accumbens (NAcc) function have emphasized its role in representing either valence or salience during incentive anticipation. In an event-related FMRI experiment, we independently manipulated valence and salience by cuing participants to anticipate certain and uncertain monetary gains and losses. NAcc activation correlated with both valence and salience. On trials with certain outcomes, NAcc activation increased for anticipated gains and decreased for anticipated losses. On trials with uncertain outcomes, NAcc activation increased for both anticipated gains and losses but did not differ between them. These findings suggest that NAcc activation separately represents both valence and salience, consistent with its hypothesized role in appetitive motivation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Cues*
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intuition / physiology*
  • Male
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Reward*