YEARS

2015-2017

AUTHORS

Catherine Alexandra Hartley

TITLE

Neurocognitive development of goal-directed versus habitual learning

ABSTRACT

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Adolescence is widely considered to be a period of increased risk of addiction. Developmental differences in reward-related learning may contribute to this heightened vulnerability. The transition to drug addiction is thought to involve an imbalance between two dissociable instrumental learning systems. A goal-directed learning system represents the consequences of potential actions, enabling flexible selection of a response likely to obtain a desired outcome. In contrast, a habitual learning system forms strong links between previously rewarded actions and the cues or contexts with which they were associated. Compulsive drug use is thought to stem in part from an overreliance on habitual learning. Despite the hypothesized role of action selection biases in the etiology of addiction, there has been little study of goal-directed and habitual learning prior to adulthood, when addictive disorders typically originate. We have recently begun to examine developmental changes in action selection biases using a reinforcement-learning task that can distinguish the extent to which goal-directed or habitual cognitive representations guide one's choices. We find that whereas habitual learning is apparent from childhood onwards, evidence of goal-directed learning only emerges during adolescence. This suggests that during early adolescence when goal-directed learning processes may still be maturing, or for individuals in whom this maturation is delayed or disrupted, a propensity toward habit-based action may heighten vulnerability to addiction. Using computational modeling and functional and structural neuroimaging, the proposed research will 1) examine maturational changes in the neural systems supporting goal-directed and habitual learning and 2) clarify whether individual differences known to modulate addiction risk also bias the reliance upon these learning processes. This project will begin to elucidate the neural and cognitive maturational trajectory of basic instrumental learning processes that may increase vulnerability to drug addiction early in development.

FUNDED PUBLICATIONS

  • The neuroscience of adolescent decision-making.
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    21 TRIPLES      17 PREDICATES      22 URIs      9 LITERALS

    Subject Predicate Object
    1 grants:09027db8fa90386a676c6ccb7f7b557f sg:abstract DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Adolescence is widely considered to be a period of increased risk of addiction. Developmental differences in reward-related learning may contribute to this heightened vulnerability. The transition to drug addiction is thought to involve an imbalance between two dissociable instrumental learning systems. A goal-directed learning system represents the consequences of potential actions, enabling flexible selection of a response likely to obtain a desired outcome. In contrast, a habitual learning system forms strong links between previously rewarded actions and the cues or contexts with which they were associated. Compulsive drug use is thought to stem in part from an overreliance on habitual learning. Despite the hypothesized role of action selection biases in the etiology of addiction, there has been little study of goal-directed and habitual learning prior to adulthood, when addictive disorders typically originate. We have recently begun to examine developmental changes in action selection biases using a reinforcement-learning task that can distinguish the extent to which goal-directed or habitual cognitive representations guide one's choices. We find that whereas habitual learning is apparent from childhood onwards, evidence of goal-directed learning only emerges during adolescence. This suggests that during early adolescence when goal-directed learning processes may still be maturing, or for individuals in whom this maturation is delayed or disrupted, a propensity toward habit-based action may heighten vulnerability to addiction. Using computational modeling and functional and structural neuroimaging, the proposed research will 1) examine maturational changes in the neural systems supporting goal-directed and habitual learning and 2) clarify whether individual differences known to modulate addiction risk also bias the reliance upon these learning processes. This project will begin to elucidate the neural and cognitive maturational trajectory of basic instrumental learning processes that may increase vulnerability to drug addiction early in development.
    2 sg:endYear 2017
    3 sg:fundingAmount 254250.0
    4 sg:fundingCurrency USD
    5 sg:hasContribution contributions:b7c6ef41dd75824563dfe4575eeda4e3
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    11 sg:hasFundedPublication articles:f89afd834ade86799be8135220e1cfb1
    12 sg:hasFundingOrganization grid-institutes:grid.420090.f
    13 sg:hasRecipientOrganization grid-institutes:grid.5386.8
    14 sg:language English
    15 sg:license http://scigraph.springernature.com/explorer/license/
    16 sg:scigraphId 09027db8fa90386a676c6ccb7f7b557f
    17 sg:startYear 2015
    18 sg:title Neurocognitive development of goal-directed versus habitual learning
    19 sg:webpage http://projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_description.cfm?aid=8808978
    20 rdf:type sg:Grant
    21 rdfs:label Grant: Neurocognitive development of goal-directed versus habitual learning
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