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Science 311 (5762): 861-863

Copyright © 2006 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Neurochemical Modulation of Response Inhibition and Probabilistic Learning in Humans

Samuel R. Chamberlain,1,3* Ulrich Müller,1,2,3 Andrew D. Blackwell,1,3 Luke Clark,2,3 Trevor W. Robbins,2,3 Barbara J. Sahakian1,3

Abstract: Cognitive functions dependent on the prefrontal cortex, such as the ability to suppress behavior (response inhibition) and to learn from complex feedback (probabilistic learning), play critical roles in activities of daily life. To what extent do different neurochemical systems modulate these two cognitive functions? Here, using stop-signal and probabilistic learning tasks, we show a double dissociation for the involvement of noradrenaline and serotonin in human cognition. In healthy volunteers, inhibition of central noradrenaline reuptake improved response inhibition but had no effect on probabilistic learning, whereas inhibition of central serotonin reuptake impaired probabilistic learning with no effect on response inhibition.

1 Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Box 189, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK.
2 Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EB, UK.
3 Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EB, UK.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: src33{at}

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