The dynamics of dopamine in control of motor behavior

Mati Joshua*, Avital Adler, Hagai Bergman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The basal ganglia are known to control behavior using reward information; however, recent experiments have revealed that the basal ganglia contribute to the processing of salient non-rewarding events as well. Here, we suggest that the temporal dynamics of the response of dopaminergic neurons (DANs) enable the basal ganglia to have a dual role. The fast DAN response to salient events is mediated thorough the brainstem-basal ganglia loop. Forebrain loops enable the second phase of the dopaminergic responses that require highly processed information. The convergent encoding of fast/salient and slow/detailed information suggests that the basal ganglia control the tradeoff between fast and immediate responses to environmental events and slow responses that are only executed after substantial environmental information has been gathered.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)615-620
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was partly supported by the Hebrew University Netherlands Association (HUNA)’s ‘Fighting against Parkinson’ , a Vorst Family Foundation grant and a FP7 ‘ Select and Act ’ grant.


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