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Toward a unifying account of dopamine’s role in cost-benefit decision making


Soutschek, Alexander; Jetter, Alexander; Tobler, Philippe N (2023). Toward a unifying account of dopamine’s role in cost-benefit decision making. Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science, 3(2):179-186.

Abstract

Dopamine is thought to play a crucial role in cost-benefit decision making, but so far there is no consensus on the precise role of dopamine in decision making. Here, we review the literature on dopaminergic manipulations of cost-benefit decision making in humans and evaluate how well different theoretical accounts explain the existing body of evidence. Reduced D2 stimulation tends to increase the willingness to bear delay and risk costs (i.e., wait for later rewards, take riskier options), while increased D1 and D2 receptor stimulation increases willingness to bear effort costs. We argue that the empirical findings can best be explained by combining the strengths of two theoretical accounts: in cost-benefit decision making, dopamine may play a dual role both in promoting the pursuit of psychologically close options (e.g., sooner and safer rewards) and in computing which costs are acceptable for a reward at stake. Moreover, we identify several limiting factors in the study designs of previous investigations that prevented a fuller understanding of dopamine’s role in value-based choice. Together, the proposed theoretical framework and the methodological suggestions for future studies may bring us closer to a unifying account of dopamine in healthy and impaired cost-benefit decision making.

Abstract

Dopamine is thought to play a crucial role in cost-benefit decision making, but so far there is no consensus on the precise role of dopamine in decision making. Here, we review the literature on dopaminergic manipulations of cost-benefit decision making in humans and evaluate how well different theoretical accounts explain the existing body of evidence. Reduced D2 stimulation tends to increase the willingness to bear delay and risk costs (i.e., wait for later rewards, take riskier options), while increased D1 and D2 receptor stimulation increases willingness to bear effort costs. We argue that the empirical findings can best be explained by combining the strengths of two theoretical accounts: in cost-benefit decision making, dopamine may play a dual role both in promoting the pursuit of psychologically close options (e.g., sooner and safer rewards) and in computing which costs are acceptable for a reward at stake. Moreover, we identify several limiting factors in the study designs of previous investigations that prevented a fuller understanding of dopamine’s role in value-based choice. Together, the proposed theoretical framework and the methodological suggestions for future studies may bring us closer to a unifying account of dopamine in healthy and impaired cost-benefit decision making.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Materials chemistry, delay discounting, dopamine, effort discounting, psychopharmacology, reward, risky decision making
Scope:Discipline-based scholarship (basic research)
Language:English
Date:1 April 2023
Deposited On:09 Feb 2024 15:32
Last Modified:27 Jun 2024 01:41
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:2667-1743
OA Status:Gold
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpsgos.2022.02.010
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:24426
Project Information:
  • : FunderPfizer Ltd
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID100019_176016
  • : Project TitleMechanisms for social learning
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID100014_165884
  • : Project TitleThe role of dopamine in value-based decision making
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDCRSII5_177277
  • : Project TitleThe Foundations of Successful Financial Decision Making
  • : FunderVelux Stiftung
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderDFG
  • : Grant IDSO 1636/2-1
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)