Brain centers involved in valuation of anticipated outcomes: nucleus accumbens and VTA

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To represent value for learning and decision making, the brain must encode information about both (1) the motivational relevance and (2) affective valence of anticipated outcomes. The nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) are thought to play key roles in representing these and other aspects of valuation. [...] For both self-directed and charity-directed trials, activation in the NAcc and VTA increased to anticipated gains, as predicted by prior work, but also increased to anticipated losses.

Title: Activation in the VTA and nucleus accumbens increases in anticipation of both gains and losses

Link: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/neuro.08.021.2009/full