Published August 30, 2019 | Version v1
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Data from: Intrinsically regulated learning is modulated by synaptic dopamine signaling

  • 1. University of Barcelona
  • 2. McGill University
  • 3. Institut d'Investigació Biomédica de Bellvitge
  • 4. Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences
  • 5. Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • 6. Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona


We recently provided evidence that an intrinsic reward-related signal-triggered by successful learning in absence of any external feedback-modulated the entrance of new information into long-term memory via the activation of the dopaminergic midbrain, hippocampus, and ventral striatum (the SN/VTA-Hippocampal loop; Ripollés et al., 2016). Here, we used a double-blind, within-subject randomized pharmacological intervention to test whether this learning process is indeed dopamine-dependent. A group of healthy individuals completed three behavioral sessions of a language-learning task after the intake of different pharmacological treatments: a dopaminergic precursor, a dopamine receptor antagonist or a placebo. Results show that the pharmacological intervention modulated behavioral measures of both learning and pleasantness, inducing memory benefits after 24 hours only for those participants with a high sensitivity to reward. These results provide causal evide nce for a dopamine-dependent mechanism instrumental in intrinsically regulated learning and further suggest that subject-specific reward sensitivity drastically alters learning success.



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10.7554/elife.38113 (DOI)