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A specific role for posterior dorsolateral striatum in human habit learning. Eur J Neurosci 29: 2225-2232

Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ 07102, USA.
European Journal of Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 3.67). 06/2009; 29(11):2225-32. DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06796.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Habits are characterized by an insensitivity to their consequences and, as such, can be distinguished from goal-directed actions. The neural basis of the development of demonstrably outcome-insensitive habitual actions in humans has not been previously characterized. In this experiment, we show that extensive training on a free-operant task reduces the sensitivity of participants' behavior to a reduction in outcome value. Analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging data acquired during training revealed a significant increase in task-related cue sensitivity in a right posterior putamen-globus pallidus region as training progressed. These results provide evidence for a shift from goal-directed to habit-based control of instrumental actions in humans, and suggest that cue-driven activation in a specific region of dorsolateral posterior putamen may contribute to the habitual control of behavior in humans.

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Available from: Bernard W Balleine, Aug 28, 2015
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    • "Thus, if the involvement of the putamen in S-R learning dissipates after a period of stable habitual performance, Tricomi et al. (2009) may not have sampled behavior beyond that stable period, whereas our accelerated habitual learning paradigm allowed us to do so. It is also worth noting , that, whereas Tricomi et al. (2009) reported effects in a small area in the very far posterior putamen, our effects extend throughout the right putamen and globus pallidus. One feature of the present results is that areas in which discriminatory neural activity was correlated with between-subject variation in devaluation insensitivity did not also show differential main effects in a comparison of S-R and R-O conditions. "
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    • "In contrast, if the habit system has gained control over action, an individual should continue to respond in both valued and devalued conditions at a cost of 1¢ per trial. To exclude the possibility that new learning contributed to devaluation test performance, outcomes were not shown to participants during the test stage (Figure 2A) (de Wit & Dickinson, 2009; Tricomi et al., 2009). Participants were warned about this change in task procedure, told that they would not longer see the result of their choices (i.e. "
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    • "Despite the limitations discussed below, we suspect that our finding of progressive putaminal engagement reflects the formation of S-R associations rather than other types of associations. Previous human studies linked the posterolateral putamen [Knowlton et al., 1996] to habit formation, showing that putaminal activation at the onset of task blocks increased over the course of each training day and across days of training [Tricomi et al., 2009], and to valuation following extensive training [Wunderlich et al., 2012]. We instead focused on rapidly acquired associations that likely represent an early phase of habit learning. "
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