Motivation is the driving force that elicits a certain behaviour from an organism in order to satisfy the drive or seek a particular goal. Motivation can be induced by physiological drives such as hunger, thirst or pain, as well as by events in the external environment.

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  • News and Views |

    McHenry and colleagues delineate a neural circuit controlling female sexual behavior. These experiments shed light on how the brain optimizes reproductive behavior to coincide with phases of peak fertility.

    • Gül Dölen
    Nature Neuroscience 20, 379–380
  • News and Views |

    While the relationship between motivation and sleep is intuitive, its behavioral and neural features are poorly understood. A new study tackles both issues, showing that dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area mediate this relationship.

    • Michael Happ
    •  & Michael M Halassa
    Nature Neuroscience 19, 1274–1276
  • News and Views |

    Researchers show that orbitofrontal neurons perform the same value-related computations across different decisions. Value computations are therefore a critical feature around which orbitofrontal representations are organized.

    • Erin L Rich
    •  & Jonathan D Wallis
    Nature Neuroscience 19, 768–770
  • News and Views |

    In this issue of Nature Neuroscience, Eshel et al. characterize the homogeneity with which individual dopamine neurons encode reward prediction error, a teaching signal that is thought to be crucial for associative learning.

    • Nathan F Parker
    •  & Ilana B Witten
    Nature Neuroscience 19, 418–419