Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Reward-predicting cues evoke activity in midbrain dopamine neurons that encodes fundamental attributes of economic value, including reward magnitude, delay and uncertainty. We found that dopamine release in rat nucleus accumbens encodes anticipated benefits, but not effort-based response costs unless they are atypically low. This neural separation of costs and benefits indicates that mesolimbic dopamine scales with the value of pending rewards, but does not encode the net utility of the action to obtain them.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Neurosci

Publication Date





25 - 27


Animals, Behavior, Animal, Brain Chemistry, Conditioning, Operant, Cues, Decision Making, Discrimination Learning, Dopamine, Electrochemistry, Functional Laterality, Male, Nucleus Accumbens, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Reaction Time, Reinforcement Schedule, Reward, Uncertainty