Differential encoding of losses and gains in the human striatum

Ben Seymour, Nathaniel Daw, Peter Dayan, Tania Singer, Ray Dolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

331 Scopus citations


Studies on human monetary prediction and decision making emphasize the role of the striatum in encoding prediction errors for financial reward. However, less is known about how the brain encodes financial loss. Using Pavlovian conditioning of visual cues to outcomes that simultaneously incorporate the chance of financial reward and loss, we show that striatal activation reflects positively signed prediction errors for both. Furthermore, we show functional segregation within the striatum, with more anterior regions showing relative selectivity for rewards and more posterior regions for losses. These findings mirror the anteroposterior valence-specific gradient reported in rodents and endorse the role of the striatum in aversive motivational learning about financial losses, illustrating functional and anatomical consistencies with primary aversive outcomes such as pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4826-4831
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 2 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


  • Basal ganglia
  • Classical conditioning
  • Decision making
  • Neuroeconomics
  • Opponent process
  • Reinforcement learning


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