Apr 3, 2020

Dopaminergic signalling modulates reward-driven music memory consolidation

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Laura FerreriAntoni Rodriguez-Fornells


Previously, we provided causal evidence for a dopamine-dependent effect of intrinsic reward on memory during self-regulated learning (Ripolles et al., 2016; Ripolles et al., 2018). Here, we further investigated the dopamine-dependent link between reward and memory by focusing on one of the most iconic abstract rewards in humans: music. Twenty-nine healthy participants listened to unfamiliar excerpts--which had to be remembered following a consolidation period--after the intake of a dopaminergic antagonist, a dopaminergic precursor, and a placebo across three separated sessions. The intervention modulated the pleasantness experienced during music-listening and memory recognition of the presented songs (i.e., lower with the antagonist, higher with the precursor) in individuals with higher sensitivity to musical reward. Our work highlights the flexibility of the human dopaminergic system, which is able to enhance memory formation not only through explicit and/or primary reinforcers but also via intrinsic, abstract, or aesthetic rewards of different natures.

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