Table of Contents
Advances in Neuroscience
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 862048, 6 pages
Review Article

The Role of Habenula in Motivation and Reward

Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal QC, Canada H2V 2S9

Received 2 June 2014; Revised 29 July 2014; Accepted 13 August 2014; Published 26 August 2014

Academic Editor: Daniela Schulz

Copyright © 2014 Marc Fakhoury and Sergio Domínguez López. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Located centrally along the dorsal diencephalic system, the habenula is divided into two structures: the medial and the lateral portions. It serves as an important relay between the forebrain and several hindbrain sites. In the last few years, a huge attention has been devoted to this structure, especially the lateral habenula (LHb), which seems to play an important role in emotion, motivation, and reward. Recent studies using techniques such as electrophysiology and neuroimaging have shown that the LHb is involved in motivational control of behavior. Its dysfunction is often associated with depression, schizophrenia, and mood disorder. This review focuses on providing a neuroanatomical and behavioral overview of some of the research previously done on the LHb. First, we describe the anatomical structure of the habenula and we explain how it is involved in reward and motivation. Then, we will discuss how this structure is linked to the limbic system, to finally provide a comparison between several studies that have used electrolytic lesions.