The dorsal raphe nucleus is integral to negative prediction errors in Pavlovian fear

Eur J Neurosci. 2014 Oct;40(7):3096-101. doi: 10.1111/ejn.12676. Epub 2014 Jul 16.


Prediction errors are central to modern learning theories. While brain regions contributing to reward prediction errors have been uncovered, the sources of aversive prediction errors remain largely unknown. Here we used probabilistic and deterministic reinforcement procedures, followed by extinction, to examine the contribution of the dorsal raphe nucleus to negative, aversive prediction errors in Pavlovian fear. Rats with dorsal raphe lesions were able to acquire fear and reduce fear to a non-reinforced deterministic cue. However, dorsal raphe lesions impaired the reduction of fear to a probabilistic cue and fear extinction to a deterministic cue, both of which involve the use of negative prediction errors. The results point to an integral role for the dorsal raphe nucleus in negative prediction error signaling in Pavlovian fear.

Keywords: conditioned suppression; learning; omission; rat.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Dorsal Raphe Nucleus / physiology*
  • Extinction, Psychological / physiology
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Reinforcement Schedule