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This chapter provides an overview of neural mechanisms involved in reward learning, concentrating largely on corticobasal ganglia circuits. It explains how neural circuits contribute to computing value signals for both natural and more abstract social rewards and how these value signals contribute to learning. Given its heterogeneity in terms of connectivity and functionality, the basal ganglia and associated projections are a key component of a putative reward circuit and are the focus of the research described in the chapter. The chapter also talks about the human striatum using neuroimaging techniques. Early studies of reward processing in humans paralleled animal studies, suggesting that activity in the striatum correlated with value signals during reward processing. Processing of reward-related information is highly dependent on components of corticobasal ganglia circuits such as the striatum, orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), and accumbens (ACC), along with modulation by dopaminergic input.
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