"The role of the nucleus accumbens -a.k.a. the ‘pleasure center’- in higher cognitive processes"
There is now converging evidence from animal and human studies linking dopamine release to reward-related processes. Often, however, these putative reward-related processes cannot be dissociated from an effortful distribution of cognitive resources during rewarded trials. In the first part of the talk I will present evidence that reward-related areas (SN/VTA) and nc. accumbens are indeed activated by cognitive resource allocation in the absence of reward. Thus, it appears to be at least conceivable that some previous results might have been affected by condition-specific levels of effort. In the second part of the talk, I will present evidence for an involvement of the SN/VTA-accumbens loop in successful meaning-acquisition again in the absence of external reward, and the involvement of the hippocampus in longer-lasting meaning encoding. Implications of these results will be discussed.
May 09, 2016 | 04:00 PM - 06:00 PM