The mammalian brain is topographically organized into parallel, but interacting cortico-striatal loops, which support the learning and performance of a diverse range of functions, including cognitive, motor, and motivational processes. The striking architecture and functional importance of these loops continues to drive research interest in this area; what operation or computation is performed at each stage of the loop? Are the same, or different, operations are applied to parallel loops? How do other brain systems, and limbic areas such as the hippocampus and the amygdala in particular, interact with these loops?
In an effort to disentangle these issues, recent work has increasingly adopted a multi-structure approach. For instance, a number of electrophysiological studies in rodents have sought to compare information processing across parallel loops (e.g. Stalnaker et al. 2010; Thorn et al. 2010; van der Meer et al. 2010; Kim et al. 2009; Kimchi & Laubach 2009) or to identify interactions between successive processing stages within a loop (Tort et al. 2008; Berke 2009; Lansink et al. 2009; Ito & Doya 2009, van der Meer & Redish 2011).
A complementary approach that can reveal the functional relevance of specific projections is the use of asymmetric disconnection lesions, disrupting serial communication between two brain regions. These studies have identified a number of distinct cortico-limbic, and limbic-striatal circuits concerned with mediating differential associative processes (e.g. Everitt et al., 1991; Floresco et al., 1997, Baxter et al., 2000; Wang and Cai 2004; Ito et al. 2008; Takahashi et al. 2009).
Insights emerging from these complementary approaches have fuelled new work that seeks to link local processes, and cross-structure interactions, and behavioural contributions of cortico-limbic-striatal networks. To catalyze and highlight such efforts, this Research Topic aims to bring together new contributions on the structure, dynamics, and function of cortico-striatal processing. In particular, we focus on “affective” loops involved in the processing of motivational, reward-related and aversive information, and their interactions with related limbic areas such as the hippocampus and amygdala. We encourage a range of contributions from different experimental levels to theoretical perspectives, methodological advances and research highlights (see http://www.frontiersin.org/neuroscience/articletype for details on available submission types).
Authors are requested to submit a brief (200-500 word) abstract of their submission before November 15, 2011. Following confirmation from the host editors, the deadline for initial submission of the full manuscript will be March 31, 2012. All submissions will be peer-reviewed according to the Frontiers open, interactive review system (http://www.frontiersin.org/about/reviewsystem). The host editors will provide an introduction to the resulting collection of articles.
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Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.
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