In this part of the course we take another look at the basal ganglia.
In the previous lesson you learned how frontal and prefrontal areas of the cortex interact with the basal ganglia to choose movements, and how changes in tonic levels of dopamine provided by the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area can either decrease or increase the overall levels of motor activity produced.
In this lecture we learn about phasic dopamine release, and the role it is thought to play by providing a "reward prediction error signal" to the cortex-basal ganglia circuits which shape our judgments about which of a set of possible actions is more likely to be rewarding.
We also take a look at how these action selection circuits may get hijacked by addictive drugs.
lecture videos for the latest, CityU presentation of this course are not yet available, but you can have a look at the videos for the corresponding lectures from the 2011 Oxford course here.