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Science 306 (5703): 1901-1902

Copyright © 2004 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Addiction as Compulsive Reward Prediction

Serge H. Ahmed

What compels drug addicts to consume cocaine in preference to more rewarding alternatives and in the face of heavy costs? In his Perspective, Ahmed discusses a computational model of cocaine addiction (Redish) that challenges current rational theories of addiction. In this model, cocaine use is predicted to lead inexorably to a decrease in total future rewards by corrupting the brain's neural pathways that predict and weigh future rewards.

The author is at CNRS UMR 5541, Université Victor-Segalen Bordeaux 2, Bordeaux, France. E-mail: sahmed{at}

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Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882