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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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Mechanisms of dopamine-mediated incentive learning

Mechanisms of dopamine-mediated incentive learning

Chapter:
(p.295) Chapter 12 Mechanisms of dopamine-mediated incentive learning
Source:
Life's rewards
Author(s):

Richard J. Beninger

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198824091.003.0012

Mechanisms of dopamine-mediated incentive learning explains how sensory events, resulting from an animal’s movement and the environment, activate cortical glutamatergic projections to dendritic spines of striatal medium spiny neurons to initiate a wave of phosphorylation. If no rewarding stimulus is encountered, a subsequent wave of phosphatase activity undoes the phosphorylation. If a rewarding stimulus is encountered, dopamine initiates a cascade of events in D1 receptor-expressing medium spiny neurons that may prevent the phosphatase effects and work synergistically with signaling events produced by glutamate. As a result, corticostriatal synapses have a greater impact on response systems; this may be part of the mechanism of incentive learning. Dopamine acting on dendritic spines of D2 receptor-expressing medium spiny neurons may prevent synaptic strengthening by inhibiting adenosine signaling; these synapses may be weakened through mechanisms involving endocannabinoids. When dopamine concentrations drop, e.g. during negative prediction errors, the opposite may occur, producing inverse incentive learning.

Keywords:   adenosine, dopamine, glutamate, incentive learning, inverse incentive learning, medium spiny neuron, phosphatase, phosphorylation, reward, striatum

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