Intrinsically regulated learning is modulated by synaptic dopamine signaling

Pablo Ripollés, Laura Ferreri, Ernest Mas-Herrero, Helena Alicart, Alba Gómez-Andrés, Josep Marco-Pallares, Rosa Maria Antonijoan, Toemme Noesselt, Marta Valle, Jordi Riba, Antoni Rodriguez-Fornells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


© Ripollés et al. 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 hr only for those participants with a high sensitivity to reward. These results provide causal evidence for a dopamine-dependent mechanism instrumental in intrinsically regulated learning and further suggest that subject-specific reward sensitivity drastically alters learning success.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere38113
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2018


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