Frontostriatal White Matter Integrity Mediates Adult Age Differences in Probabilistic Reward Learning

Journal of Neuroscience, 32(15), 5333–5337, 2012

5 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2012 Last revised: 28 Oct 2015

See all articles by Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin

Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin

Duke University - Department of Psychology and Neuroscience; Duke University - Center for Cognitive Neuroscience

Sara Levens

UNC Charlotte

L. Perry

Stanford University

Robert Dougherty

Stanford University

Brian Knutson

Stanford University - Psychology

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Frontostriatal circuits have been implicated in reward learning, and emerging findings suggest that frontal white matter structural integrity and probabilistic reward learning are reduced in older age. This cross-sectional study examined whether age differences in frontostriatal white matter integrity could account for age differences in reward learning in a community life span sample of human adults. By combining diffusion tensor imaging with a probabilistic reward learning task, we found that older age was associated with decreased reward learning and decreased white matter integrity in specific pathways running from the thalamus to the medial prefrontal cortex and from the medial prefrontal cortex to the ventral striatum. Further, white matter integrity in these thalamocorticostriatal paths could statistically account for age differences in learning. These findings suggest that the integrity of frontostriatal white matter pathways critically supports reward learning. The findings also raise the possibility that interventions that bolster frontostriatal integrity might improve reward learning and decision making.

Keywords: aging, learning, decision making, neuroimaging

JEL Classification: D83, D87, C91, J14

Suggested Citation

Samanez-Larkin, Gregory R. and Levens, Sara and Perry, L. and Dougherty, Robert and Knutson, Brian, Frontostriatal White Matter Integrity Mediates Adult Age Differences in Probabilistic Reward Learning (2012). Journal of Neuroscience, 32(15), 5333–5337, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2140004

Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Psychology and Neuroscience ( email )

Durham, NC 27708
United States

Duke University - Center for Cognitive Neuroscience ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Sara Levens

UNC Charlotte ( email )

L. Perry

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Robert Dougherty

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Brian Knutson

Stanford University - Psychology ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States
650 723 7431 (Phone)
650 725 5699 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://psychology.stanford.edu/~knutson

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