Neuronal and oscillatory activity during reward processing in the human ventral striatum

Neuroreport. 2011 Nov 16;22(16):795-800. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32834b2975.


Accumulated evidence from animal studies implicates the ventral striatum in the processing of reward information. Recently, deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery has enabled researchers to analyze neurophysiological recordings from humans engaged in reward tasks. We present data recorded from the human ventral striatum during deep brain stimulation surgery as a participant played a video game coupled to the receipt of visual reward images. To our knowledge, we identify the first instances of reward-sensitive single unit activity in the human ventral striatum. Local field potential data suggest that alpha oscillations are sensitive to positive feedback, whereas beta oscillations exhibit significantly higher power during unrewarded trials. We report evidence of alpha-gamma cross-frequency coupling that differentiates between positive and negative feedback.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology*
  • Biological Clocks / physiology*
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology*
  • Reward*