Dopaminergic contribution to cognitive sequence learning

O. Nagy, O. Kelemen, G. Benedek, C. E. Myers, D. Shohamy, M. A. Gluck, S. Kéri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Evidence suggests that dopaminergic mechanisms in the basal ganglia are important in feedback-guided habit learning. To test hypothesis, we assessed cognitive sequence learning in 120 healthy volunteers and measured plasma levels of homovanillic acid [HVA] (a metabolite of dopamine), 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid [5-HIAA] (a metabolite of serotonin), and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxypheylglycol [MHPG] (a metabolite of norepinephrine). Results revealed a significant negative relationship between errors in the feedback-guided training phase of the sequence learning task and the plasma HVA level. The HVA level accounted for 10.5% of variance of performance. Participant who had lower HVA level than the median value of the whole sample committed more errors during the training phase compared with participants who had higher HVA plasma level than the median value. A similar phenomenon was not observed for the context-dependent phase of the task and for 5-HIAA and MHPG. These results suggest that dopamine plays a special role in feedback-guided cognitive sequence learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-612
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neural Transmission
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


  • Basal ganglia
  • Dopamine
  • Feedback
  • HVA
  • Sequence learning

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