Optimal decision-making requires that organisms correctly evaluate both the costs and benefits of potential choices. Dopamine transmission within the nucleus accumbens (NAc) has been heavily implicated in reward-learning and decision-making, but it is unclear how dopamine release might contribute to decisions that involve costs.
Cost-based decision-making was examined in rats trained to associate visual cues with either immediate or delayed rewards (delay manipulation) or low-effort or high-effort rewards (effort manipulation). After training, dopamine concentration within the NAc was monitored on a rapid time scale with fast-scan cyclic voltammetry.
Animals exhibited a preference for immediate or low-effort rewards over delayed or high-effort rewards of equal magnitude. Reward-predictive cues but not response execution or reward delivery evoked increases in NAc dopamine concentration. When only one response option was available, cue-evoked dopamine release reflected the value of the future reward, with larger increases in dopamine signaling higher-value rewards. In contrast, when both options were presented simultaneously, dopamine signaled the better of two options, regardless of the future choice.
Phasic dopamine signals in the NAc reflect two different types of reward cost and encode potential rather than chosen value under choice situations.
To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
Purchase one-time access:Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
One-time access price info
- For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
- For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'
Subscribe:Subscribe to Biological Psychiatry
Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
Already an online subscriber? Sign in
Register: Create an account
Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect
- A discounting framework for choice with delayed and probabilistic rewards.Psychol Bull. 2004; 130: 769-792
- Delay discounting in schizophrenia.Cogn Neuropsychiatr. 2007; 12: 213-221
- Temporal Reward discounting in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: The contribution of symptom domains, reward magnitude, and session length.Biol Psychiatry. 2010; 67: 641-648
- Effort-based cost-benefit valuation and the human brain.J Neurosci. 2009; 29: 4531-4541
- Nucleus accumbens dopamine and the regulation of effort in food-seeking behavior: Implications for studies of natural motivation, psychiatry, and drug abuse.J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2003; 305: 1-8
- Impulsive choice induced in rats by lesions of the nucleus accumbens core.Science. 2001; 292: 2499-2501
- Associative learning mediates dynamic shifts in dopamine signaling in the nucleus accumbens.Nat Neurosci. 2007; 10: 1020-1028
- Dopamine operates as a subsecond modulator of food seeking.J Neurosci. 2004; 24: 1265-1271
- Dopamine neurons encode the better option in rats deciding between differently delayed or sized rewards.Nat Neurosci. 2007; 10: 1615-1624
- Discrete coding of reward probability and uncertainty by dopamine neurons.Science. 2003; 299: 1898-1902
- Adaptive coding of reward value by dopamine neurons.Science. 2005; 307: 1642-1645
- Dissociable cost and benefit encoding of future rewards by mesolimbic dopamine.Nat Neurosci. 2010; 13: 25-27
- A neural substrate of prediction and reward.Science. 1997; 275: 1593-1599
- The temporal precision of reward prediction in dopamine neurons.Nat Neurosci. 2008; 11: 966-973
- Dopamine antagonists alter response allocation but do not suppress appetite for food in rats: Contrast between the effects of SKF 83566, raclopride, and fenfluramine on a concurrent choice task.Psychopharmacology. 2002; 160: 371-380
- Anhedonia or anergia?.Behav Brain Res. 1994; 65: 221-229
- Dopaminergic and glutamatergic regulation of effort- and delay-based decision making.Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008; 33: 1966-1979
- Midbrain dopamine neurons encode decisions for future action.Nat Neurosci. 2006; 9: 1057-1063
Published online: May 11, 2010
Accepted: March 24, 2010
Received in revised form: March 10, 2010
Received: January 28, 2010
© 2010 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.