Parallel associative processing in the dorsal striatum: segregation of stimulus-response and cognitive control subregions

Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2011 Sep;96(2):95-120. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2011.06.002. Epub 2011 Jun 16.


Although evidence suggests that the dorsal striatum contributes to multiple learning and memory functions, there nevertheless remains considerable disagreement on the specific associative roles of different neuroanatomical subregions. We review evidence indicating that the dorsolateral striatum (DLS) is a substrate for stimulus-response habit formation - incremental strengthening of simple S-R bonds - via input from sensorimotor neocortex while the dorsomedial striatum (DMS) contributes to behavioral flexibility - the cognitive control of behavior - via prefrontal and limbic circuits engaged in relational and spatial information processing. The parallel circuits through dorsal striatum interact with incentive/affective motivational processing in the ventral striatum and portions of the prefrontal cortex leading to overt responding under specific testing conditions. Converging evidence obtained through a detailed task analysis and neurobehavioral assessment is beginning to illuminate striatal subregional interactions and relations to the rest of the mammalian brain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Memory / physiology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*