Addiction and Learning

A University of Minnesota researcher developed a computational model of addiction which can be used to make predictions about human behavior, animal behavior, and neurophysiology.

Natural increases in dopamine occur after unexpected natural rewards; however, with learning these increases shift from the time of reward delivery to cueing stimuli. In TDRL, once the value function predicts the reward, learning stops. Cocaine and other addictive drugs, however, produce a momentary increase in dopamine through neuropharmacological mechanisms, thereby continuing to drive learning, forcing the brain to over-select choices which lead to getting drugs … (read more)

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