Dopamine enhances model-based over model-free choice behavior

Neuron. 2012 Aug 9;75(3):418-24. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.03.042.


Decision making is often considered to arise out of contributions from a model-free habitual system and a model-based goal-directed system. Here, we investigated the effect of a dopamine manipulation on the degree to which either system contributes to instrumental behavior in a two-stage Markov decision task, which has been shown to discriminate model-free from model-based control. We found increased dopamine levels promote model-based over model-free choice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Benserazide / pharmacology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Choice Behavior / drug effects
  • Choice Behavior / physiology*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Dopamine Agents / pharmacology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Markov Chains
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Young Adult


  • Dopamine Agents
  • Benserazide
  • Dopamine