Dopamine neurons and their role in reward mechanisms

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1997 Apr;7(2):191-7. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(97)80007-4.


Information related to rewards is processed by a limited number of brain structures. Recent studies have demonstrated that dopamine neurons respond to appetitive events, such as primary rewards and reward-predicting stimuli. Rather than responding unconditionally, these neurons signal deviations from the prediction of future appetitive events. These reward-related responses correspond formally to concepts of behavioral and computational learning theories and may thus constitute teaching signals for appetitive learning.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Reward*


  • Dopamine