Intrinsic monitoring of learning success facilitates memory encoding via the activation of the SN/VTA-hippocampal loop

Pablo Ripollés, Josep Marco-Pallarés, Helena Alicart, Claus Tempelmann, Antoni Rodríguez-Fornells, Toemme Noesselt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Humans constantly learn in the absence of explicit rewards. However, the neurobiological mechanisms supporting this type of internally-guided learning (without explicit feedback) are still unclear. Here, participants who completed a task in which no external reward/ feedback was provided, exhibited enhanced fMRI-signals within the dopaminergic midbrain, hippocampus, and ventral striatum (the SN/VTA-Hippocampal loop) when successfully grasping the meaning of new-words. Importantly, new-words that were better remembered showed increased activation and enhanced functional connectivity between the midbrain, hippocampus, and ventral striatum. Moreover, enhanced emotion-related physiological measures and subjective pleasantness ratings during encoding were associated with remembered new-words after 24 hr. Furthermore, increased subjective pleasantness ratings were also related to new-words remembered after seven days. These results suggest that intrinsic-potentially reward-related-signals, triggered by self-monitoring of correct performance, can promote the storage of new information into long-term memory through the activation of the SN/VTA-Hippocampal loop, possibly via dopaminergic modulation of the midbrain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere17441
JournaleLife
Volume5
Issue numberSeptember
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 20 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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    Ripollés, P., Marco-Pallarés, J., Alicart, H., Tempelmann, C., Rodríguez-Fornells, A., & Noesselt, T. (2016). Intrinsic monitoring of learning success facilitates memory encoding via the activation of the SN/VTA-hippocampal loop. eLife, 5(September), [e17441]. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.17441