Monday, April 16th, 2018
3PM, Dale Melbourne Herklotz Conference Center, Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (Building 506 on the campus map)
Kyle Smith, Ph.D
“Brain mechanisms for reward cue attraction”
Cues that predict reward engage reward seeking behaviors. They can also acquire their own motivational properties, capturing attention and triggering approach and interaction with the cue itself. I will discuss some recent studies on both processes – cue-triggered reward behavior and cue-directed behavior – with a focus on how they relate to interactions between regions of the nucleus accumbens and ventral pallidum. The results of this work suggest that both forms of behavior rely on accumbens-pallidum circuitry, yet they can be dissociated. One surprising finding is that, whereas accumbens-pallidum connections promote cue-triggered reward seeking, these connections may functionally oppose an attraction to the cues themselves. Finally, data will also be shown that suggest the attraction to cues can be flexible yet also powerfully enduring in a manner that is reminiscent of cue reactivity in addiction.