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eLife Sciences Publications, eLife, (9), 2020

DOI: 10.7554/elife.59152



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A selective effect of dopamine on information-seeking

Journal article published in 2020 by Valentina Vellani ORCID, Lianne P. de Vries ORCID, Anne Gaule, Tali Sharot ORCID
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Data provided by SHERPA/RoMEO


Humans are motivated to seek information from their environment. How the brain motivates this behavior is unknown. One speculation is that the brain employs neuromodulatory systems implicated in primary reward-seeking, in particular dopamine, to instruct information-seeking. However, there has been no causal test for the role of dopamine in information-seeking. Here, we show that administration of a drug that enhances dopamine function (dihydroxy-L-phenylalanine; L-DOPA) reduces the impact of valence on information-seeking. Specifically, while participants under Placebo sought more information about potential gains than losses, under L-DOPA this difference was not observed. The results provide new insight into the neurobiology of information-seeking and generates the prediction that abnormal dopaminergic function (such as in Parkinson’s disease) will result in valence-dependent changes to information-seeking.