Reward Systems: Human

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Rewards are positive stimuli that can impact everyday behavior. Both primary (e.g., food) and secondary (e.g., money) rewards modulate simple behaviors (e.g., eating) and more complex social interactions (e.g., developing trust). The potential rewarding properties of a stimulus and its effect on goal-directed behavior are coded in the human brain by a reward circuit consisting primarily of orbitofrontal cortex, striatum, amygdala, and dopaminergic modulation. These areas are involved in coding the representation of reward values, learning what stimuli or actions predict reward, and constantly updating such representations to reflect changes in the current environment in order to maximize reward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Neuroscience
PublisherElsevier Ltd
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9780080450469
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)


  • Amygdala
  • Conditioning
  • Dopamine
  • Dorsal striatum
  • Expected value
  • Goal-directed behavior
  • Incentive
  • Magnitude
  • Neuroimaging
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Prediction error
  • Primary reinforcer
  • Secondary reinforcer
  • Valence
  • Ventral striatum


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