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Published June 2009 | Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

A specific role for posterior dorsolateral striatum in human habit learning


Habits are characterized by an insensitivity to their consequences and, as such, can be distinguished from goal-directed actions. The neural basis of the development of demonstrably outcome-insensitive habitual actions in humans has not been previously characterized. In this experiment, we show that extensive training on a free-operant task reduces the sensitivity of participants' behavior to a reduction in outcome value. Analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging data acquired during training revealed a significant increase in task-related cue sensitivity in a right posterior putamen–globus pallidus region as training progressed. These results provide evidence for a shift from goal-directed to habit-based control of instrumental actions in humans, and suggest that cue-driven activation in a specific region of dorsolateral posterior putamen may contribute to the habitual control of behavior in humans.

Additional Information

© The Authors 2009. Journal Compilation © Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Received 28 January 2009, revised 13 April 2009, accepted 5 May 2009. Published Online: 21 May 2009. We thank Saori Tanaka, Signe Bray, Jan Glascher, Nicole Tetrault and Ralph Lee for their assistance. This work was supported by grants from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health (RO3MH075763) to J.O.D.

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Accepted Version - nihms-145239.pdf


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