reward vs. aversion: false dichotomy

by Pythagorean
Tags: aversion, dichotomy, false, reward
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Aug31-13, 08:24 PM
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a refutation of an assumption in 14 physiology papers. Apparently, the psychological/behavioral model is favored and the physiological/computational model is oversimplified (that is, if you take these 14 papers to be representative). Skinner is the one reference representing psych/behavior perspective, that could be defensible depending on how this particular idea of behaviorism is actually modeled by psychologists today.

Whereas reward (appetitiveness) and aversiveness (punishment) have been distinguished as two discrete dimensions within psychology and behavior, physiological and computational models of their neural representation have treated them as opposite sides of a single continuous dimension of “value.” Here, I show that although dopamine neurons of the primate ventral midbrain are activated by evidence for reward and suppressed by evidence against reward, they are insensitive to aversiveness. This indicates that reward and aversiveness are represented independently as two dimensions, even by neurons that are closely related to motor function. Because theory and experiment support the existence of opponent neural representations for value, the present results imply four types of value-sensitive neurons corresponding to reward-ON (dopamine), reward-OFF, aversive-ON, and aversive-OFF.
Two Dimensions of Value: Dopamine Neurons Represent Reward But Not Aversiveness
Science 2 August 2013:
Vol. 341 no. 6145 pp. 546-549
DOI: 10.1126/science.1238699
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