Mapping brain circuits of reward and motivation: in the footsteps of Ann Kelley

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013 Nov;37(9 Pt A):1919-31. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.12.008. Epub 2012 Dec 19.


Ann Kelley was a scientific pioneer in reward neuroscience. Her many notable discoveries included demonstrations of accumbens/striatal circuitry roles in eating behavior and in food reward, explorations of limbic interactions with hypothalamic regulatory circuits, and additional interactions of motivation circuits with learning functions. Ann Kelley's accomplishments inspired other researchers to follow in her footsteps, including our own laboratory group. Here we describe results from several lines of our research that sprang in part from earlier findings by Kelley and colleagues. We describe hedonic hotspots for generating intense pleasure 'liking', separate identities of 'wanting' versus 'liking' systems, a novel role for dorsal neostriatum in generating motivation to eat, a limbic keyboard mechanism in nucleus accumbens for generating intense desire versus intense dread, and dynamic limbic transformations of learned memories into motivation. We describe how origins for each of these themes can be traced to fundamental contributions by Ann Kelley.

Keywords: Dopamine; Eating; Fear; Incentive salience; Neostriatum; Nucleus accumbens; Opioid; Pleasure; Rat; Ventral pallidum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology
  • Motivation / physiology*
  • Reward*