Ventral striatum: A critical look at models of learning and evaluation

Matthijs A.A. Van der Meer, A. David Redish

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    64 Scopus citations


    Extensive evidence implicates the ventral striatum in multiple distinct facets of action selection. Early work established a role in modulating ongoing behavior, as engaged by the energizing and directing influences of motivationally relevant cues and the willingness to expend effort in order to obtain reward. More recently, reinforcement learning models have suggested the notion of ventral striatum primarily as an evaluation step during learning, which serves as a critic to update a separate actor. Recent computational and experimental work may provide a resolution to the differences between these two theories through a careful parsing of behavior and the instrinsic heterogeneity that characterizes this complex structure.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)387-392
    Number of pages6
    JournalCurrent opinion in neurobiology
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jun 2011

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This work was supported by NIH MH080318 (ADR) and the Department of Biology and Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience, University of Waterloo (MvdM).


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