Nature Reviews Neuroscience 7, 967-975 (December 2006) | doi:10.1038/nrn2022

OpinionThe short-latency dopamine signal: a role in discovering novel actions?

Peter Redgrave1 & Kevin Gurney1  About the authors


An influential concept in contemporary computational neuroscience is the reward prediction error hypothesis of phasic dopaminergic function. It maintains that midbrain dopaminergic neurons signal the occurrence of unpredicted reward, which is used in appetitive learning to reinforce existing actions that most often lead to reward. However, the availability of limited afferent sensory processing and the precise timing of dopaminergic signals suggest that they might instead have a central role in identifying which aspects of context and behavioural output are crucial in causing unpredicted events.

Author affiliations

  1. Peter Redgrave and Kevin Gurney are at the Neuroscience Research Unit, Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, S10 2TP, UK.

Correspondence to: Peter Redgrave1 Email:

Published online 8 November 2006


These links to content published by NPG are automatically generated.


Multiple reward signals in the brain

Nature Reviews Neuroscience Review (01 Dec 2000)

See all 24 matches for Reviews


Should I stay or should I go: genetic bases for uncertainty-driven exploration

Nature Neuroscience News and Views (01 Aug 2009)

Rethinking the thalamus

Nature Neuroscience News and Views (01 Aug 2005)

See all 6 matches for News And Views