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Life's rewardsLinking dopamine, incentive learning, schizophrenia, and the mind$
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Richard J. Beninger

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198824091

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198824091.001.0001

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Neuroanatomy and dopamine systems

Neuroanatomy and dopamine systems

Chapter:
(p.266) Chapter 11 Neuroanatomy and dopamine systems
Source:
Life's rewards
Author(s):

Richard J. Beninger

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198824091.003.0011

Neuroanatomy and dopamine systems explains how sensory signals ascend the central nervous system via a series of nuclei; axons detecting specific elements converge onto higher-order neurons that respond to particular stimulus features. Assemblies of feature-detection cells in the cerebral cortex detect complex stimuli such as faces. These cell assemblies project to motor nuclei of the dorsal and ventral striatum where they terminate on dendritic spines of efferent medium spiny neurons. Dopaminergic projections from ventral mesencephalic nuclei terminate on the same spines. Individual corticostriatal afferents contact relatively few medium spiny neurons and individual dopaminergic neurons contact a far larger number. Stimuli activate specific subsets of corticostriatal synapses. Synaptic activity that is closely followed by a rewarding stimulus, that produces a burst of action potentials in dopaminergic neurons, is modified so that those specific corticostriatal synapses acquire an increased ability to elicit approach and other responses in the future, i.e., incentive learning.

Keywords:   cerebral cortex, corticostriatal synapse, dendritic spine, dopamine, feature detection, incentive learning, medium spiny neuron, neuroanatomy, reward, striatum

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