Neural Activity in the Ventral Pallidum Encodes Variation in the Incentive Value of a Reward Cue

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Allison M AhrensJ Wayne Aldridge


There is considerable individual variation in the extent to which reward cues are attributed with incentive salience. For example, a food-predictive conditioned stimulus (CS; an illuminated lever) becomes attractive, eliciting approach toward it only in some rats ("sign trackers," STs), whereas others ("goal trackers," GTs) approach the food cup during the CS period. The purpose of this study was to determine how individual differences in Pavlovian approach responses are represented in neural firing patterns in the major output structure of the mesolimbic system, the ventral pallidum (VP). Single-unit in vivo electrophysiology was used to record neural activity in the caudal VP during the performance of ST and GT conditioned responses. All rats showed neural responses to both cue onset and reward delivery but, during the CS period, STs showed greater neural activity than GTs both in terms of the percentage of responsive neurons and the magnitude of the change in neural activity. Furthermore, neural activity was positively correlated with the degree of attraction to the cue. Given that the CS had equal predictive value in STs and GTs, we conclude that neural activity in the VP largely reflects the degree to which the CS was attr...Continue Reading


Jul 25, 2019·The European Journal of Neuroscience·David OttenheimerJocelyn M Richard
May 13, 2020·Stress : the International Journal on the Biology of Stress·Sofia A Lopez, Shelly B Flagel
May 23, 2018·Neuropsychopharmacology : Official Publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology·Elizabeth S CoganNatalie C Tronson
Oct 21, 2018·Nature Communications·David OttenheimerPatricia H Janak
Oct 10, 2020·Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience·Unur MunkhzayaHisao Nishijo
Aug 28, 2020·Physiology & Behavior·Ileana Morales, Kent C Berridge
Jan 10, 2021·Communications Biology·Mahsa MoaddabMichael A McDannald
Jan 27, 2021·Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews·Mayank Aggarwal, Jeffery R Wickens
Apr 27, 2021·Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience·Robert G MairBrett M Gibson

Related Concepts

Related Feeds

Basal Forebrain & Food Avoidance

Neurons in the basal forebrain play specific roles in regulating feeding. Here are the latest discoveries pertaining to the basal forebrain and food avoidance.

Basal Ganglia

Basal Ganglia are a group of subcortical nuclei in the brain associated with control of voluntary motor movements, procedural and habit learning, emotion, and cognition. Here is the latest research.

Basal Forebrain- Circuits

Basal forebrain is a region in the brain important for production of acetylcholine and is the major cholinergic output of the CNS. Discover the latest research on circuits in the basal forebrain here.