The role of dopamine in reward-related behavior: shining new light on an old debate

J Neurophysiol. 2020 Aug 1;124(2):309-311. doi: 10.1152/jn.00323.2020. Epub 2020 Jul 8.


The role dopamine plays in reward-related behaviors has been debated for decades. Heymann et al. (Heymann G, Jo YS, Reichard KL, McFarland N, Chavkin C, Palmiter RD, Soden ME, Zweifel LS. Neuron 105: 909-920, 2020) identify subpopulations of dopamine-producing neurons that separately mediate reward association and motivation. Their results help demonstrate that dopamine signaling may partake in both reinforcement learning and incentive salience functions, instantiated by neuropeptide-defined subpopulations of the ventral tegmental area with different projection targets.

Keywords: dopamine; neuropeptides; reward; ventral tegmental area.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Dopamine*
  • Dopaminergic Neurons
  • Motivation
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Reward*
  • Ventral Tegmental Area


  • Dopamine