Dopamine modulation of intertemporal decision-making: Evidence from parkinson disease

Karin Foerde, Bernd Figner, Bradley B. Doll, Isabel C. Woyke, Erin Kendall Braun, Elke U. Weber, Daphna Shohamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Choosing between smaller prompt rewards and larger later rewards is a common choice problem, and studies widely agree that frontostriatal circuits heavily innervated by dopamine are centrally involved. Understanding how dopamine modulates intertemporal choice has important implications for neurobiological models and for understanding the mechanisms underlying maladaptive decision-making. However, the specific role of dopamine in intertemporal decisions is not well understood. Dopamine may play a role in multiple aspects of intertemporal choices—the valuation of choice outcomes and sensitivity to reward delays. To assess the role of dopamine in intertemporal decisions, we tested Parkinson disease patients who suffer from dopamine depletion in the striatum, in either high (on medication, PDON) or low (offmedication, PDOFF) dopaminergic states. Compared with both PDOFFand healthy controls, PDON made more farsighted choices and reduced their valuations less as a function of increasing time to reward. Furthermore, reduced discounting in the high dopaminergic state was robust across multiple measures, providing new evidence for dopamine’s role in making decisions about the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-667
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of cognitive neuroscience
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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