Can the reward prediction error hypothesis explain addiction and reward? Great video on incentive-salience theory.

If you are interested in predictive coding, learning, motivation, addiction, or reward, don’t miss this excellent video by Kent Berridge. The incentive salience theory has long fascinated me as it may potentially explain data not accounted for by the hedonic-aversive accounts of addiction and reward. Essentially Incentive Salience argues that rather than reward or addiction being purely the function of seeking hedonic rewards or avoiding aversive punishments (e.g. withdrawal), salient cues trigger direct “wanting” responses irrespective of the reward itself. This may explain why for example, mice often continue to seek rewards even when dopamine is blocked and no pleasurable outcome can be obtained, or conversely why even in the absence of withdrawal addicts will seek drugs in response to salient cues.  Anyway, Kent explains it much better than I can- so watch it!

3 thoughts on “Can the reward prediction error hypothesis explain addiction and reward? Great video on incentive-salience theory.

  1. The “hedonic-aversive account” of addiction and reward does explain these kind of data… with something called extinction burst.. and schedules of reinforcement.

    • Thanks for your comment! I’m not surprised that there alternative accounts of those effects, as I was basing those comments on a review by Robinson and Berridge that is almost 10 years old by now. I would love it if you could link us to some papers critiquing the IS view/ explaining the alternatives you mention!

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