Individual differences in sensitivity to reward and punishment and neural activity during reward and avoidance learning

Sang Hee Kim, Heung Sik Yoon, Hackjin Kim, Stephan Hamann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this functional neuroimaging study, we investigated neural activations during the process of learning to gain monetary rewards and to avoid monetary loss, and how these activations are modulated by individual differences in reward and punishment sensitivity. Healthy young volunteers performed a reinforcement learning task where they chose one of two fractal stimuli associated with monetary gain (reward trials) or avoidance of monetary loss (avoidance trials). Trait sensitivity to reward and punishment was assessed using the behavioral inhibition/activation scales (BIS/BAS). Functional neuroimaging results showed activation of the striatum during the anticipation and reception periods of reward trials. During avoidance trials, activation of the dorsal striatum and prefrontal regions was found. As expected, individual differences in reward sensitivity were positively associated with activation in the left and right ventral striatum during reward reception. Individual differences in sensitivity to punishment were negatively associated with activation in the left dorsal striatum during avoidance anticipation and also with activation in the right lateral orbitofrontal cortex during receiving monetary loss. These results suggest that learning to attain reward and learning to avoid loss are dependent on separable sets of neural regions whose activity is modulated by trait sensitivity to reward or punishment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1227
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Oct 21

Keywords

  • Avoidance
  • Orbitofrontal
  • Punishment sensitivity
  • Reward
  • Reward sensitivity
  • Striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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