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Science 299 (5614): 1856-1858

Copyright © 2003 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Gambling on Dopamine

Peter Shizgal and Andreas Arvanitogiannis

Midbrain dopamine neurons are important for motor control, motivation, effort, reward, analgesia, stress, learning, attention, and cognition. In a Perspective, Shizgal and Arvanitogiannis explore new findings (Fiorillo et al.) revealing a gradual increase in the firing rate of midbrain dopamine neurons in anticipation of uncertain rewards. This firing pattern may serve to heighten attention during uncertainty, thus promoting the learning of better predictors of reward.

The authors are at the Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, Concordia University, Montréal, Quebec, H3G 1M8, Canada. E-mail: shizgal{at}; andreas{at}

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