Researchers from MIT use specialized magnetic resonance imaging sensor to reveal how dopamine influences different areas of the brain.
Dopamine plays many roles in the brain. It is related to movement, motivation, and reinforcement of behavior. However, it has been difficult to study exactly how dopamine effects the brain on a larger scale.
The MIT team found that in addition to the motor cortex, the remote brain area most affected by dopamine is the insular cortex., a region critical for many cognitive functions related to perception of the body’s internal states, including physical and emotional states.
Their results could help us understand the effects of dopamine on the brain and its role in addiction and learning, while providing a basis for improved interpretation of neuroimaging results that are relevant to learning and addiction.
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“Local and global consequences of reward-evoked striatal dopamine release”. Nan Li & Alan Jasanoff.