Motivational value: Contribution of ventral prefrontal areas and catecholaminergic systems in monkeys.


Sebastien Bouret, 4pm Wednesday 19th January 2011

Team Motivation Brain & Behavior. Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epiniere. Paris, France.


Motivational value depends upon multiple parameters including the size

of the reward, the cost of obtaining it, or the internal state of the

subject. This value drives a variety of behaviors, ranging from

appetitive reflexes to more elaborate, goal directed actions. In order

to understand the neuronal processes by which value information drives

behavioral responses, we recorded the activity of single neurons in

behaving monkeys. Animals performed simple tasks enabling us to

compare the influence of motivational value on Pavlovian reflexes and

goal-directed actions. A first set of experiments was aimed at

comparing the contribution of the ventromedial and orbitofrontal

cortices to the assessment of motivational value. Another set of

experiments was designed to understand the role of the noradrenergic

nucleus locus coeruleus in motivational processes, and the extent to

which this role differs from that of dopaminergic neurons from the

substancia nigra. This work provides new insights into the neuronal

mechanis ms underlying the regulation of appetitive reflexes and goal

directed actions as a function of motivational value.