The anticipation of rewards turns out to have its own hedonic value, on top of that of the reward itself; a wide range of behavioral and neurophysiological data suggest that this anticipation is boosted by prediction errors.
Attenuated anticipatory activity in ventromedial prefrontal cortex is modulated by dopamine D1 receptor density in nucleus accumbens, and accounts for impaired probabilistic reward learning in older adults.
Electrophysiological recordings in monkeys reveal that cerebellar complex spikes encode future reward size when reward information is first made available, but not during reward delivery or smooth pursuit eye movement.
fMRI evidence for off-task replay predicts subsequent replanning behavior in humans, suggesting that learning from simulated experience during replay helps update past policies in reinforcement learning.
Primate amygdala neurons provide a coordinated representation of space and motivational significance whereby amygdala responses to visual stimuli predicting either rewards or aversive stimuli could influence spatial attention in a similar manner.