Explain the biological psychology of reward
Students should start by explaining the function of reward and then explain the reward circuit and how this allows us to attain biological goals. Most of the marks will derive from showing knowledge of the “loop” which mediates the reward system. It is more than a single loop, of course, and students need to describe the various pathways and their function. Answers should refer to the limbic system of the brain, the hypothalamus and the substantia nigra. In addition students should mention of the VTA and dopamine pathways to the Nucleus Accumbens and prefrontal cortex and their function, and how this links with learning. They should also explain how connections to the amygdala help to form an emotionally based memory of an event.
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