THE ROLE OF THE DOPAMINERGIC SYSTEM IN GRATIFICATION PROCESSES

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Gratification is one of the functions necessary for the satisfaction of basic needs geared towards welfare and reproduction, which evolved in higher animal species. Over the years, several studies on the mechanisms through which gratification exerts its effects on the nervous system and is associated with feelings of pleasure have shown that the dopa-minergic system is the most important circuit acting as a biological basis for gratification. This article will review the current knowledge on the response of the midbrain dopa-minergic system to appetitive and aversive stimuli, as well as the role played within this context by the Lateral Habenula, a structure that has attracted great interest among re-searchers in the recent years.

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