Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Dopamine neurons play a key role in reward-related behaviors. Reward coding theories predict that dopamine neurons will be inhibited by or will not respond to aversive stimuli. Paradoxically, between 3 and 49% of presumed dopamine neurons are excited by aversive stimuli. We found that, in the ventral tegmental area of anesthetized rats, the population of presumed dopamine neurons that are excited by aversive stimuli is actually not dopaminergic. The identified dopamine neurons were inhibited by the aversive stimulus. These findings suggest that dopamine neurons are specifically excited by reward and that a population of nondopamine neurons is excited by aversive stimuli.

Original publication

DOI

10.1126/science.1093360

Type

Journal article

Journal

Science

Publication Date

26/03/2004

Volume

303

Pages

2040 - 2042

Keywords

Action Potentials, Animals, Dopamine, Electrophysiology, Microelectrodes, Neural Inhibition, Neurons, Pain, Physical Stimulation, Rats, Reward, Ventral Tegmental Area