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Cromwell Relative Reward Striatal Activity.pdf
eNEURO (2016)
  • Howard C Cromwell
  • Dr Emily S Webber
  • David E Mankin
The striatum is a key brain region involved in reward processing. Striatal activity has been linked to encoding rewardmagnitude and integrating diverse reward outcome information. Recent work has supported the involvement ofstriatum in the valuation of outcomes. The present work extends this idea by examining striatal activity during dynamicshifts in value that include different levels and directions of magnitude disparity. A novel task was used to produce
diverse relative reward effects on a chain of instrumental action. Rats (Rattus norvegicus) were trained to respond to
cues associated with specific outcomes varying by food pellet magnitude. Animals were exposed to single-outcomesessions followed by mixed-outcome sessions, and neural activity was compared among identical outcome trials fromthe different behavioral contexts. Results recording striatal activity show that neural responses to different taskelements reflect incentive contrast as well as other relative effects that involve generalization between outcomes or possible influences of outcome variety. The activity that was most prevalent was linked to food consumption andpost-food consumption periods. Relative encoding was sensitive to magnitude disparity. A within-session analysisshowed strong contrast effects that were dependent upon the outcome received in the immediately preceding trial.Significantly higher numbers of responses were found in ventral striatum linked to relative outcome effects. Our resultssupport the idea that relative value can incorporate diverse relationships, including comparisons from specificindividual outcomes to general behavioral contexts. The striatum contains these diverse relative processes, possiblyenabling both a higher information yield concerning value shifts and a greater behavioral flexibility.
  • lectrophysiology; goal-directed action; incentive contrast; motivation; nucleus accumbens; single
Publication Date
Fall October, 2016
Citation Information
Howard C Cromwell, Emily S Webber and David E Mankin. "Cromwell Relative Reward Striatal Activity.pdf" eNEURO Vol. 3 Iss. 5 (2016) p. 1 - 22 ISSN: 2373-2822
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