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Published December 2009 | Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Overlapping Prediction Errors in Dorsal Striatum During Instrumental Learning With Juice and Money Reward in the Human Brain


Prediction error signals have been reported in human imaging studies in target areas of dopamine neurons such as ventral and dorsal striatum during learning with many different types of reinforcers. However, a key question that has yet to be addressed is whether prediction error signals recruit distinct or overlapping regions of striatum and elsewhere during learning with different types of reward. To address this, we scanned 17 healthy subjects with functional magnetic resonance imaging while they chose actions to obtain either a pleasant juice reward (1 ml apple juice), or a monetary gain (5 cents) and applied a computational reinforcement learning model to subjects' behavioral and imaging data. Evidence for an overlapping prediction error signal during learning with juice and money rewards was found in a region of dorsal striatum (caudate nucleus), while prediction error signals in a subregion of ventral striatum were significantly stronger during learning with money but not juice reward. These results provide evidence for partially overlapping reward prediction signals for different types of appetitive reinforcers within the striatum, a finding with important implications for understanding the nature of associative encoding in the striatum as a function of reinforcer type.

Additional Information

© 2009 American Physiological Society. Submitted 10 November 2008; accepted in final form 28 September 2009. We thank I. Kagan, S. Wagner, and M. Tyszka for technical assistance and advice. This research is supported by a Searle Scholarship and a grant from the National Science Foundation to J. P. O'Doherty.

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Supplemental Material - Valentin2009p6652J_Neurophysiol_supp.pdf


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