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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Gregory S. Berns, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, 1639 Pierce Drive, Suite 4000, Atlanta, GA 30322, E-mail: gberns@emory.edu

Or: P. Read Montague, Division of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, 1 Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, E-mail: read@bcm.tmc.edu

We thank H. Mao, R. King, and M. Martin for their assistance with data collection.


Research Funding:

This work was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse Grants K08 DA00367 (to G.S.B.) and RO1 DA11723 (to P.R.M.), the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression (G.S.B.), and the Kane Family Foundation (P.R.M.).


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Neurosciences
  • Neurosciences & Neurology
  • reward
  • dopamine
  • fMRI
  • reinforcement
  • neural network
  • nucleus accumbens
  • striatum
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Dopamine neurons
  • Sensory stimulation
  • Nucleus accumbens
  • FMRI
  • Striatum
  • Activation
  • Cocaine
  • Expectation
  • Systems

Predictability modulates human brain response to reward


Journal Title:

Journal of Neuroscience


Volume 21, Number 8


, Pages 2793-2798

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Certain classes of stimuli, such as food and drugs, are highly effective in activating reward regions. We show in humans that activity in these regions can be modulated by the predictability of the sequenced delivery of two mildly pleasurable stimuli, orally delivered fruit juice and water. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, the activity for rewarding stimuli in both the nucleus accumbens and medial orbitofrontal cortex was greatest when the stimuli were unpredictable. Moreover, the subjects' stated preference for either juice or water was not directly correlated with activity in reward regions but instead was correlated with activity in sensorimotor cortex. For pleasurable stimuli, these findings suggest that predictability modulates the response of human reward regions, and subjective preference can be dissociated from this response.

Copyright information:

© 2001 Society for Neuroscience.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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