The hippocampal-striatal axis in learning, prediction and goal-directed behavior

Trends Neurosci. 2011 Oct;34(10):548-59. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2011.08.001. Epub 2011 Sep 1.


The hippocampal formation and striatum subserve declarative and procedural memory, respectively. However, experimental evidence suggests that the ventral striatum, as opposed to the dorsal striatum, does not lend itself to being part of either system. Instead, it may constitute a system integrating inputs from the amygdala, prefrontal cortex and hippocampus to generate motivational, outcome-predicting signals that invigorate goal-directed behaviors. Inspired by reinforcement learning models, we suggest an alternative scheme for computational functions of the striatum. Dorsal and ventral striatum are proposed to compute outcome predictions largely in parallel, using different types of information as input. The nature of the inputs to striatum is furthermore combinatorial, and the specificity of predictions transcends the level of scalar value signals, incorporating episodic information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Goals*
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology*