Reward responses of dopamine neurons: A biological reinforcement signal

  • Wolfram Schultz
Part I: Coding and Learning in Biology
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1327)


A class of reinforcement models termed Temporal Difference (TD) models has been developed from theoretical grounds as effective algorithms for various learning situations. Based on the observation that learning depends on the unpredictability of primary motivating events, these models use errors in the prediction of reinforcing events as teaching signals. Independent of the theoretical work, neuophysiological experiments have revealed that neurons in the mammalian midbrain using the neurotransmitter dopamine process information about rewards and reward-predicting stimuli in a very similar manner as the teaching signal of TD models.


Conditioned Stimulus Dendritic Spine Dopamine Neuron Synaptic Weight Striatal Neuron 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfram Schultz
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PhysiologyUniversity of FribourgFribourgSwitzerland

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