Professor Philip Shaw discusses some of the main functions associated with the dopamine system, which include reward, punishment, and control of action and attention.
Well dopamine is one of the most important transmitters in the brain, one of the chemical fuels of the brain. It supports a wide range of functions in the brain. Amongst those, it seems to be particularly important in the signaling for certain things such as the reward signals in the brain, also for the control of attention and some aspects of the control of motor behavior. So it is pretty ubiquitous, it’s all over the place, dopamine, but it does seem particularly related to domains to do with reward and punishment, and also control of action and attention.
The basal ganglia, a group of interconnected brain areas located deep in the cerebral cortex, have proved to be at work in learning, the formation of good and bad habits, and some psychiatric and addictive disorders.