Dopamine Signals the Value of Delayed Rewards

biopsyc2[Source:  Medical News Today]
Dopamine is the chemical messenger in the brain most closely associated with pleasure and reward. Recent scientific advances now shed light on precise roles for dopamine in the reward process.
A new paper published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry implicates dopamine in a person’s ability to be motivated by delayed rewards.
People like immediate reinforcement and tend to devalue rewards that are substantially delayed in time. As a result, people will often opt for smaller immediate rewards as opposed to larger delayed rewards when given a choice.
This decision-making process of weighing benefits versus costs for a particular outcome is called “delay discounting”. Though we perform these cost-benefit analyses in a seemingly effortless manner, scientists are still learning how the brain performs these complex processes.
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