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Neural Plasticity
Volume 10 (2003), Issue 1-2, Pages 121-128

Reward Processing in the Brain: A Prerequisite for Movement Preparation?

1Department of Neurology, University Hospital Groningen, The Netherlands
2Department of General and Cognitive Psychology, University Basel, Switzerland

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


In the last decade, expanding animal studies on the cerebral organization of reward processing toward human in vivo situations has become possible. In this review, we define some of the concepts associated with reward, summarize the crucial importance of the dopaminergic system, and discuss the currently available neuroimaging studies in man. We will show that abstract concepts of human behavior like emotions, drive, arousal, and reinforcement are now open for further exploration in man at the level of neuronal circuit organization. The cerebral dopaminergic neurotransmitter circuitry does play an important role in the organization of both the motor and motivational system.