15 June 2016: The role of mood in reward learning: function and dysfunction

Eran Eldar
Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging
Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research
University College London

Unexpected rewards impact our mood, which may in turn impact our evaluation of subsequent rewards. I will show how this two-way interaction between mood and reward learning may serve an adaptive role, ‘correcting’ learning to account for widespread changes in reward availability in the environment. I will then present theoretical and experimental evidence indicating that this mechanism can also have maladaptive consequences, in particular by engendering mood instability that may contribute to psychiatric mood disorders.