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Publication Detail
Behavioral specifications of reward-associated long-term memory enhancement in humans.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Wittmann BC, Dolan RJ, Düzel E
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    296, 300
  • Journal:
    Learn Mem
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
    Published online
  • Country:
    United States
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Brain, Female, Humans, Male, Memory, Long-Term, Reaction Time, Reward
Recent functional imaging studies link reward-related activation of the midbrain substantia nigra-ventral tegmental area (SN/VTA), the site of origin of ascending dopaminergic projections, with improved long-term episodic memory. Here, we investigated in two behavioral experiments how (1) the contingency between item properties and reward, (2) the magnitude of reward, (3) the uncertainty of outcomes, and (4) the contextual availability of reward affect long-term memory. We show that episodic memory is enhanced only when rewards are specifically predicted by the semantic identity of the stimuli and changes nonlinearly with increasing reward magnitude. These effects are specific to reward and do not occur in relation to outcome uncertainty alone. These behavioral specifications are relevant for the functional interpretation of how reward-related activation of the SN/VTA, and more generally dopaminergic neuromodulation, contribute to long-term memory.
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