Expanding the role of striatal cholinergic interneurons and the midbrain dopamine system in appetitive instrumental conditioning

J Neurophysiol. 2016 Jan 1;115(1):240-54. doi: 10.1152/jn.00473.2015. Epub 2015 Oct 14.


The basal ganglia are a collection of subcortical nuclei thought to underlie a wide variety of vertebrate behavior. Although a great deal is known about the functional and physiological properties of the basal ganglia, relatively few models have been formally developed that have been tested against both behavioral and physiological data. Our previous work (Ashby FG, Crossley MJ. J Cogn Neurosci 23: 1549-1566, 2011) showed that a model grounded in the neurobiology of the basal ganglia could account for basic single-neuron recording data, as well as behavioral phenomena such as fast reacquisition that constrain models of conditioning. In this article we show that this same model accounts for a variety of appetitive instrumental conditioning phenomena, including the partial reinforcement extinction (PRE) effect, rapid and slowed reacquisition following extinction, and renewal of previously extinguished instrumental responses by environmental context cues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetitive Behavior / physiology
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology*
  • Cholinergic Neurons / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Operant / physiology*
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Extinction, Psychological / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neural Networks, Computer*


  • Dopamine