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Author: Florian Schlagenhauf (76)


Jan
2018

The influence of Pavlovian conditioned stimuli on ongoing behavior may contribute to explaining how alcohol cues stimulate drug seeking and intake. Using a Pavlovian-instrumental transfer task, we investigated the effects of alcohol-related cues on approach behavior (i.e.

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Jan
2018

Anticipatory anxiety and harm avoidance are essential features of panic disorder (PD) and may involve deficits in the reward system of the brain, in particular in the ventral striatum. While neuroimaging studies on PD have focused on fearful and negative affective stimulus processing, no investigations have directly addressed deficits in reward and loss anticipation. To determine whether the ventral striatum shows abnormal neural activity in PD patients during anticipation of loss or gain, an event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment using a monetary incentive delay task was employed in 10 patients with PD and 10 healthy controls.

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Dec
2016

Suspecting significance behind ordinary events is a common feature in psychosis and it is assumed to occur due to aberrant salience attribution. The Salience Attribution Test (SAT; Roiser et al., 2009) measures aberrant salience as a bias towards one out of two equally reinforced cue features as opposed to adaptive salience towards features indicating high reinforcement.

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Dec
2017

Addiction is supposedly characterized by a shift from goal-directed to habitual decision making, thus facilitating automatic drug intake. The two-step task allows distinguishing between these mechanisms by computationally modeling goal-directed and habitual behavior as model-based and model-free control. In addicted patients, decision making may also strongly depend upon drug-associated expectations.

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Dec
1969

Advances in neurocomputational modeling suggest that valuation systems for goal-directed (deliberative) on one side, and habitual (automatic) decision-making on the other side may rely on distinct computational strategies for reinforcement learning, namely model-free vs. model-based learning. As a key theoretical difference, the model-based system strongly demands cognitive functions to plan actions prospectively based on an internal cognitive model of the environment, whereas valuation in the model-free system relies on rather simple learning rules from operant conditioning to retrospectively associate actions with their outcomes and is thus cognitively less demanding.

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Jul
2017

Appetitive Pavlovian conditioning plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of drug addiction and conditioned reward cues can trigger craving and relapse even after long phases of abstinence. Promising preclinical work showed that the NMDA-receptor partial agonist D-cycloserine (DCS) facilitates Pavlovian extinction learning of fear and drug cues. Furthermore, DCS-augmented exposure therapy seems to be beneficial in various anxiety disorders, while the supposed working mechanism of DCS during human appetitive or aversive extinction learning is still not confirmed.

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Dec
1969

Substance-dependent individuals often lack the ability to adjust decisions flexibly in response to the changes in reward contingencies. Prediction errors (PEs) are thought to mediate flexible decision-making by updating the reward values associated with available actions. In this study, we explored whether the neurobiological correlates of PEs are altered in alcohol dependence.

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Dec
1969

Instrumental learning and decision-making rely on two parallel systems: a goal-directed and a habitual system. In the past decade, several paradigms have been developed to study these systems in animals and humans by means of e.g.

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Aug
2017

Schizophrenia is a heterogeneous spectrum disorder often associated with detrimental negative symptoms. In recent years, computational approaches to psychiatry have attracted growing attention. Negative symptoms have shown some overlap with general cognitive impairments and were also linked to impaired motivational processing in brain circuits implementing reward prediction.

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Dec
2017

Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative condition characterized by a triad of movement disorder, neuropsychiatric symptoms and cognitive deficits. The striatum is particularly vulnerable to the effects of mutant huntingtin, and cell loss can already be found in presymptomatic stages. Since the striatum is well known for its role in reinforcement learning, we hypothesized to find altered behavioral and neural responses in HD patients in a probabilistic reinforcement learning task performed during functional magnetic resonance imaging.

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Oct
2016

Addicted individuals continue substance use despite the knowledge of harmful consequences and often report having no choice but to consume. Computational psychiatry accounts have linked this clinical observation to difficulties in making flexible and goal-directed decisions in dynamic environments via consideration of potential alternative choices. To probe this in alcohol-dependent patients (n = 43) versus healthy volunteers (n = 35), human participants performed an anticorrelated decision-making task during functional neuroimaging.

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May
2017

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and addiction in general is characterized by failures of choice resulting in repeated drug intake despite severe negative consequences. Behavioral change is hard to accomplish and relapse after detoxification is common and can be promoted by consumption of small amounts of alcohol as well as exposure to alcohol-associated cues or stress. While those environmental factors contributing to relapse have long been identified, the underlying psychological and neurobiological mechanism on which those factors act are to date incompletely understood.

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Feb
2017

Despite its clinical relevance and the recent recognition as a diagnostic category in the DSM-5, binge eating disorder (BED) has rarely been investigated from a cognitive neuroscientific perspective targeting a more precise neurocognitive profiling of the disorder. BED patients suffer from a lack of behavioral control during recurrent binge eating episodes and thus fail to adapt their behavior in the face of negative consequences, eg, high risk for obesity. To examine impairments in flexible reward-based decision-making, we exposed BED patients (n=22) and matched healthy individuals (n=22) to a reward-guided decision-making task during functional resonance imaging (fMRI).

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Aug
2016

It has been questioned that the more than 300 mental disorders currently listed in international disease classification systems all have a distinct neurobiological correlate. Here, we support the idea that basic dimensions of mental dysfunctions, such as alterations in reinforcement learning, can be identified, which interact with individual vulnerability and psychosocial stress factors and, thus, contribute to syndromes of distress across traditional nosological boundaries. We further suggest that computational modeling of learning behavior can help to identify specific alterations in reinforcement-based decision-making and their associated neurobiological correlates.

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Dec
1969

Generative models of neuroimaging data, such as dynamic causal models (DCMs), are commonly used for inferring effective connectivity from individual subject data. Recently introduced "generative embedding" approaches have used DCM-based connectivity parameters for supervised classification of individual patients or to find unknown subgroups in heterogeneous groups using unsupervised clustering methods.
We present a novel framework which combines DCMs with finite mixture models into a single hierarchical model.

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Dec
1969

Studying psychiatric disorders across nosological boundaries aims at a better understanding of mental disorders by identifying comprehensive signatures of core symptoms. Here, we studied neurobiological correlates of emotion processing in several major psychiatric disorders. We assessed differences between diagnostic groups, and investigated whether there is a psychopathological correlate of emotion processing that transcends disorder categories.

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Mar
2016

Elevated striatal dopamine function is one of the best-established findings in schizophrenia. In this review, we discuss causes and consequences of this striata! dopamine alteration. We first summarize earlier findings regarding striatal reward processing and anticipation using functional neuroimaging.

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Aug
2016

Behavioral control is influenced not only by learning from the choices made and the rewards obtained but also by "what might have happened," that is, inference about unchosen options and their fictive outcomes. Substantial progress has been made in understanding the neural signatures of direct learning from choices that are actually made and their associated rewards via reward prediction errors (RPEs). However, electrophysiological correlates of abstract inference in decision-making are less clear.

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Dec
1969

Addiction shows familial aggregation and previous endophenotype research suggests that healthy relatives of addicted individuals share altered behavioral and cognitive characteristics with individuals suffering from addiction. In this study we asked whether impairments in behavioral control proposed for addiction, namely a shift from goal-directed, model-based toward habitual, model-free control, extends toward an unaffected sample (n = 20) of adult children of alcohol-dependent fathers as compared to a sample without any personal or family history of alcohol addiction (n = 17). Using a sequential decision-making task designed to investigate model-free and model-based control combined with a computational modeling analysis, we did not find any evidence for altered behavioral control in individuals with a positive family history of alcohol addiction.

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Mar
2016

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and pharmacological treatment with selective serotonin or serotonin-noradrenalin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI/SSNRI) are regarded as efficacious treatments for panic disorder with agoraphobia (PD/AG). However, little is known about treatment-specific effects on symptoms and neurofunctional correlates.
We used a comparative design with PD/AG patients receiving either two types of CBT (therapist-guided (n=29) or non-guided exposure (n=22)) or pharmacological treatment (SSRI/SSNRI; n=28) as well as a wait-list control group (WL; n=15) to investigate differential treatment effects in general aspects of fear and depression (Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale HAM-A and Beck Depression Inventory BDI), disorder-specific symptoms (Mobility Inventory MI, Panic and Agoraphobia Scale subscale panic attacks PAS-panic, Anxiety Sensitivity Index ASI, rating of agoraphobic stimuli) and neurofunctional substrates during symptom provocation (Westphal-Paradigm) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

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Dec
2015

Abnormal reward processing is suggested to underlie the formation of psychotic symptoms, likely driven by elevated ventral striatal (VS) dopamine levels. Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies reveal alterations of VS activity during reward processing in patients with chronic psychosis and first episode of psychosis, as well as individuals at high risk for psychosis, but findings are inconclusive, conflicting, and difficult to subject to meta-analysis without introducing bias because several studies reported that findings were not statistically significant but did not report statistics.
To assess the differences between patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and healthy controls in VS activation during reward processing.

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Jan
2016

A dysfunctional differentiation between self-relevant and irrelevant information may affect the perception of environmental stimuli as abnormally salient. The aberrant salience hypothesis assumes that positive symptoms arise from an attribution of salience to irrelevant stimuli accompanied by the feeling of self-relevance. Self-referential processing relies on the activation of cortical midline structures which was demonstrated to be impaired in psychosis.

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Jul
2015

The striatum is known to play a key role in reinforcement learning, specifically in the encoding of teaching signals such as reward prediction errors (RPEs). It has been proposed that aberrant salience attribution is associated with impaired coding of RPE and heightened dopamine turnover in the striatum, and might be linked to the development of psychotic symptoms. However, the relationship of aberrant salience attribution, RPE coding, and dopamine synthesis capacity has not been directly investigated.

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Oct
2015

Response inhibition is a basic mechanism in cognitive control and dysfunctional in major psychiatric disorders. The neuronal mechanisms are in part driven by dopamine in the striatum. Animal data suggest a regulatory role of glutamate on the level of the striatum.

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Jul
2015

Theoretical and animal work has proposed that prefrontal cortex (PFC) glutamate inhibits dopaminergic inputs to the ventral striatum (VS) indirectly, whereas direct VS glutamatergic afferents have been suggested to enhance dopaminergic inputs to the VS. In the present study, we aimed to investigate relationships of glutamate and dopamine measures in prefrontostriatal circuitries of healthy humans. We hypothesized that PFC and VS glutamate, as well as their balance, are differently associated with VS dopamine.

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Jun
2015

In the present study, we explored possible alterations in the default mode network (DMN) and its functional connectivity in 41 schizophrenia patients and 42 age-matched healthy controls. Schizophrenia patients displayed reduced activation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, left superior temporal gyrus including auditory cortex and temporal pole. Psychophysiological interaction analysis revealed reduced connectivity between left superior temporal gyrus including auditory cortex and the left temporal pole in schizophrenia patients compared to healthy subjects.

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May
2016

In detoxified alcohol-dependent patients, alcohol-related stimuli can promote relapse. However, to date, the mechanisms by which contextual stimuli promote relapse have not been elucidated in detail. One hypothesis is that such contextual stimuli directly stimulate the motivation to drink via associated brain regions like the ventral striatum and thus promote alcohol seeking, intake and relapse.

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Dec
1969

Functional neuroimaging has provided evidence for altered function of mesolimbic circuits implicated in reward processing, first and foremost the ventral striatum, in patients with schizophrenia. While such findings based on significant group differences in brain activations can provide important insights into the pathomechanisms of mental disorders, the use of neuroimaging results from standard univariate statistical analysis for individual diagnosis has proven difficult. In this proof of concept study, we tested whether the predictive accuracy for the diagnostic classification of schizophrenia patients vs.

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Mar
2015

It is suggested that acute stress shifts behavioral control from goal-directed, model-based toward habitual, model-free strategies. Recent findings indicate that interindividual differences in the cortisol stress response influence model-based decision-making. Although not yet investigated in humans, animal studies show that chronic stress also shifts decision-making toward more habitual behavior.

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Feb
2015

Dual system theories suggest that behavioral control is parsed between a deliberative "model-based" and a more reflexive "model-free" system. A balance of control exerted by these systems is thought to be related to dopamine neurotransmission. However, in the absence of direct measures of human dopamine, it remains unknown whether this reflects a quantitative relation with dopamine either in the striatum or other brain areas.

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Feb
2015

Drugs of abuse elicit dopamine release in the ventral striatum, possibly biasing dopamine-driven reinforcement learning towards drug-related reward at the expense of non-drug-related reward. Indeed, in alcohol-dependent patients, reactivity in dopaminergic target areas is shifted from non-drug-related stimuli towards drug-related stimuli. Such 'hijacked' dopamine signals may impair flexible learning from non-drug-related rewards, and thus promote craving for the drug of abuse.

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Dec
1969

Human and animal work suggests a shift from goal-directed to habitual decision-making in addiction. However, the evidence for this in human alcohol dependence is as yet inconclusive.
Twenty-six healthy controls and 26 recently detoxified alcohol-dependent patients underwent behavioral testing with a 2-step task designed to disentangle goal-directed and habitual response patterns.

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Dec
1969

Pavlovian processes are thought to play an important role in the development, maintenance and relapse of alcohol dependence, possibly by influencing and usurping ongoing thought and behavior. The influence of pavlovian stimuli on ongoing behavior is paradigmatically measured by pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer (PIT) tasks. These involve multiple stages and are complex.

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Dec
2014

Impulsivity is a multidimensional construct that has been suggested as a vulnerability factor for several psychiatric disorders, especially addiction disorders. Poor response inhibition may constitute one facet of impulsivity. Trait impulsivity can be assessed by self-report questionnaires such as the widely used Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11).

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Feb
2015

Fluid intelligence (fluid IQ), defined as the capacity for rapid problem solving and behavioral adaptation, is known to be modulated by learning and experience. Both stressful life events (SLES) and neural correlates of learning [specifically, a key mediator of adaptive learning in the brain, namely the ventral striatal representation of prediction errors (PE)] have been shown to be associated with individual differences in fluid IQ. Here, we examine the interaction between adaptive learning signals (using a well-characterized probabilistic reversal learning task in combination with fMRI) and SLES on fluid IQ measures.

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Dec
1969

In experimental psychology different experiments have been developed to assess goal-directed as compared to habitual control over instrumental decisions. Similar to animal studies selective devaluation procedures have been used. More recently sequential decision-making tasks have been designed to assess the degree of goal-directed vs.

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Jan
2015

A dimensional approach in psychiatry aims to identify core mechanisms of mental disorders across nosological boundaries.
We compared anticipation of reward between major psychiatric disorders, and investigated whether reward anticipation is impaired in several mental disorders and whether there is a common psychopathological correlate (negative mood) of such an impairment.
We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and a monetary incentive delay (MID) task to study the functional correlates of reward anticipation across major psychiatric disorders in 184 subjects, with the diagnoses of alcohol dependence (n = 26), schizophrenia (n = 44), major depressive disorder (MDD, n = 24), bipolar disorder (acute manic episode, n = 13), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, n = 23), and healthy controls (n = 54).

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Dec
2013

Abnormalities in reinforcement learning are a key finding in schizophrenia and have been proposed to be linked to elevated levels of dopamine neurotransmission. Behavioral deficits in reinforcement learning and their neural correlates may contribute to the formation of clinical characteristics of schizophrenia. The ability to form predictions about future outcomes is fundamental for environmental interactions and depends on neuronal teaching signals, like reward prediction errors.

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Dec
1969

This proof-of-concept study examines the feasibility of defining subgroups in psychiatric spectrum disorders by generative embedding, using dynamical system models which infer neuronal circuit mechanisms from neuroimaging data. To this end, we re-analysed an fMRI dataset of 41 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and 42 healthy controls performing a numerical n-back working-memory task. In our generative-embedding approach, we used parameter estimates from a dynamic causal model (DCM) of a visual-parietal-prefrontal network to define a model-based feature space for the subsequent application of supervised and unsupervised learning techniques.

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Apr
2014

Subjects with schizophrenia are impaired at reinforcement-driven reversal learning from as early as their first episode. The neurobiological basis of this deficit is unknown. We obtained behavioral and fMRI data in 24 unmedicated, primarily first episode, schizophrenia patients and 24 age-, IQ- and gender-matched healthy controls during a reversal learning task.

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Dec
1969

A previous study of the DOPA decarboxylase substrate 6-[(18)F]fluoro-L-DOPA (FDOPA) with positron emission tomography (PET) detected no difference of the net blood-brain transfer rate (Kin(app)) between detoxified alcoholic patients and healthy controls. Instead, the study revealed an inverse correlation between Kin (app) in left ventral striatum and alcohol craving scores. To resolve the influx and efflux phases of radiolabeled molecules, we independently estimated the unidirectional blood-brain FDOPA clearance rate (K) and the washout rate of [(18)F]fluorodopamine and its deaminated metabolites (k(loss)), and we also calculated the total distribution volume of decarboxylated metabolites and unmetabolized FDOPA as a steady-state index of the dopamine storage capacity (V(d)) in brain.

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Oct
2013

Dysfunctional emotion processing in patients suffering from schizophrenia is a prominent clinical feature of great importance for social functioning and subjective well-being. The neurobiological underpinnings are still poorly understood. Here we investigated a large sample of schizophrenia patients and matched healthy controls with an event-related fMRI task during emotion processing using emotional pictures from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS).

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Apr
2013

Patients with depression show an enhanced preoccupation with negative expectations and are often unable to look forward to positive events. Here we studied anticipatory emotional processes in unmedicated depressed patients using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Consistent with a negative processing bias, we hypothesized enhanced responses to negative and attenuated responses to positive expectancy cues in brain areas associated with emotional expectancy.

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May
2014

Neuropsychological studies reported decoding deficits of emotional facial expressions in alcohol-dependent patients, and imaging studies revealed reduced prefrontal and limbic activation during emotional face processing. However, it remains unclear whether this reduced neural activation is mediated by alcohol-associated volume reductions and whether it interacts with treatment outcome. We combined analyses of neural activation during an aversive face-cue-comparison task and local gray matter volumes (GM) using Biological Parametric Mapping in 33 detoxified alcohol-dependent patients and 33 matched healthy controls.

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Dec
1969

While hemispheric specialization of language processing is well established, lateralization of emotion processing is still under debate. Several conflicting hypotheses have been proposed, including right hemisphere hypothesis, valence asymmetry hypothesis and region-specific lateralization hypothesis. However, experimental evidence for these hypotheses remains inconclusive, partly because direct comparisons between hemispheres are scarce.

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Aug
2012

In alcohol-dependent patients, brain atrophy and functional brain activation elicited by alcohol-associated stimuli may predict relapse. However, to date, the interaction between both factors has not been studied.
To determine whether results from structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging are associated with relapse in detoxified alcohol-dependent patients.

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Dec
1969

Early dysfunction of the brain reward system in schizophrenia might be already recognized in the prodromal phase of this illness. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to assess the blood oxygen level-dependent response in the ventral striatum (VS) of subjects with ultra-high risk for psychosis during the presentation of reward-indicating and loss-indicating stimuli.
Thirteen prodromal patients (mean age: 25.

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Dec
1969

Recent approaches suggest that emotional reactivity can be used to differentiate between subgroups of individuals who are at risk for showing elevated levels of aggression and violence. In this study, we examined how emotion governs decision making within two subgroups of antisocial criminal offenders with either emotional hypo- or hyper-reactivity compared with healthy, noncriminal controls. Offenders were recruited from high-security forensic treatment facilities and penal institutions and underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during a financial decision-making task.

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Sep
2012

Recent studies have shown that motivational stimulus information is represented in the brain even in situations where the individual is not actively engaged in stimulus evaluation. However, it has remained unclear whether neural representations of such implicit motivational information reflect the motivational value or motivational salience of stimuli. While motivational values correspond to the desirability of stimuli, motivational salience is related to the arousal elicited by the stimulus.

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Sep
2012

Age-related decline in cognitive speed has been associated with prefrontal dopamine D1 receptor availability, but the contribution of presynaptic dopamine and noradrenaline innervation to age-related changes in cognition is unknown.
In a group of 16 healthy participants aged 22-61 years, we used PET and the radioligand FDOPA to measure catecholamine synthesis capacity (K (in) (app); millilitres per gram per minute) and the digit symbol substitution test to measure cognitive speed, a component of fluid IQ.
Cognitive speed was associated with the magnitude of K (in) (app) in the prefrontal cortex (p < 0.

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