Many of the individual differences in cognition, motivation, and learning-and the disruption of these processes in neurological conditions-are influenced by genetic factors. We provide an integrative synthesis across human and animal studies, focusing on a recent spate of evidence implicating a role for genes controlling dopaminergic function in frontostriatal circuitry, including COMT, DARPP-32, DAT1, DRD2, and DRD4. These genetic effects are interpreted within theoretical frameworks developed in the context of the broader cognitive and computational neuroscience literature, constrained by data from pharmacological, neuroimaging, electrophysiological, and patient studies. In this framework, genes modulate the efficacy of particular neural computations, and effects of genetic variation are revealed by assays designed to be maximally sensitive to these computations. We discuss the merits and caveats of this approach and outline a number of novel candidate genes of interest for future study.