Action initiation shapes mesolimbic dopamine encoding of future rewards

Nat Neurosci. 2016 Jan;19(1):34-6. doi: 10.1038/nn.4187. Epub 2015 Dec 7.


It is widely held that dopamine signaling encodes predictions of future rewards and such predictions are regularly used to drive behavior, but the relationship between these two is poorly defined. We found in rats that nucleus accumbens dopamine following a reward-predicting cue was attenuated unless movement was correctly initiated. Our results indicate that dopamine release in this region is contingent on correct action initiation and not just reward prediction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Cues*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reward*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Dopamine