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This article is part of the Research Topic Neuroethology


Front. Behav. Neurosci., 12 October 2010 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2010.00163

The roles of dopamine and related compounds in reward-seeking behavior across animal phyla

  • 1 Department of Biology, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • 2 Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Motile animals actively seek out and gather resources they find rewarding, and this is an extremely powerful organizer and motivator of animal behavior. Mammalian studies have revealed interconnected neurobiological systems for reward learning, reward assessment, reinforcement and reward-seeking; all involving the biogenic amine dopamine. The neurobiology of reward-seeking behavioral systems is less well understood in invertebrates, but in many diverse invertebrate groups, reward learning and responses to food rewards also involve dopamine. The obvious exceptions are the arthropods in which the chemically related biogenic amine octopamine has a greater effect on reward learning and reinforcement than dopamine. Here we review the functions of these biogenic amines in behavioral responses to rewards in different animal groups, and discuss these findings in an evolutionary context.

Keywords: dopamine, octopamine, biogenic amine, catecholamine, nucleus accumbens, motivation, reward

Citation: Barron AB, Søvik E and Cornish JL (2010) The roles of dopamine and related compounds in reward-seeking behavior across animal phyla. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 4:163. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2010.00163

Received: 03 May 2010; Paper pending published: 25 May 2010;
Accepted: 26 August 2010; Published online: 12 October 2010

Edited by:

Paul S. Katz, Georgia State University, USA

Reviewed by:

Randolf Menzel, Freie Universiät Berlin, Germany
Ulrike Heberlein, University of California San Francisco, USA
Julie A. Mustard, Arizona State University, USA

Copyright: © 2010 Barron, Søvik and Cornish. This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Andrew B. Barron, Department of Biology, Macquarie University, 209 Culloden Road, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia. e-mail: andrew.barron@mq.edu.au