Article published in:New Horizons in the Neuroscience of Consciousness
Edited by Elaine K. Perry, Daniel Collerton, Fiona E.N. LeBeau and Heather Ashton
[Advances in Consciousness Research 79] 2010
► pp. 39–52
Dopamine modulation of decision making processes
The dopamine system has a number of functions in the brain, from regulation of movement to controlling emotional expression and facilitating cognitive or conscious processes. Dopamine exerts these actions via its regulation of systems interactions. In particular, the influence of this transmitter system on the balance of afferent input to the nucleus accumbens potently modulates decision-making processes. An increase in dopamine outflow potentiates afferents from the hippocampus subiculum, which are involved in context-dependent processes. In contrast, dopamine will also attenuate the ability of the prefrontal cortex to switch behavioral tasks. In this manner, the dopamine system is positioned to alter the propensity to focus conscious attention on a current task versus flexibly altering behavior to more effectively achieve goals.
Published online: 28 October 2010