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The psychological and neurobiological basis of incentive habits: relevance for our understanding of addiction.
Update time: 2018/03/28
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Speaker: Dr David Belin (Lecturer in Behavioural Neuroscience at the Department of Psychology of the University of Cambridge)

Time13:30(Thu), March 29, 2018 

Venue: Meeting Room Level 2, South Building 

Host: BAI Wenjing


There is increasing evidence that drug addiction stems from loss of control over maladaptive drug seeking habits, but the nature of the maladaptiveness of these drug seeking habits remains unknown. We have hypothesized that maladaptive drug seeking habits stem from the aberrant functional coupling of Pavlovian motivational mechanisms dependent on the amygdala and dorsolateral striatum dopamine-dependent habits. In longitudinal studies in rats we used a combination of refined self-administration procedures, causal manipulations of the corticostriatal circuits, such as functional disconnections or pathway specific manipulations of the brain in rats seeking drugs, in vivo extracellular electrophysiological recordings and molecular biology. We characterized the neural and cellular substrates of these incentive habits. We further demonstrated that these incentive habits result in the aberrant engagement of excessive drug seeking behaviour despite past or future negative consequences, or following abstinence.

During this talk I will present this novel psychobiological model of addiction and discuss its neural and cellular substrates. I will particularly focus on the notion that once incentive habits have been developed, as a result of prolonged exposure to drug seeking under conditioned reinforcement, there is a shift in the goal of this persistent drug seeking from the drug to the response itself.

Key references:

1.      Basolateral and central amygdala differentially recruit and maintain dorsolateral striatum-dependent cocaine-seeking habits (2015) Nature communications 6, 10088

2.      Addiction: failure of control over maladaptive incentive habits, Current opinion in neurobiology 23 (4), 564-572

3.      Cocaine seeking habits depend upon dopamine-dependent serial connectivity linking the ventral with the dorsal striatum, Neuron 57 (3), 432-441

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