Speaker: Dr Campbell Le Heron 
New Zealand Brain Research Institute

Title: Reward, effort and dopamine - unravelling the mechanisms that underlie loss of motivation in brain disorders.

Abstract: Loss of motivation – apathy – is a disabling and common accompaniment of many neurological and psychiatric brain disorders. Evolving understanding of normal goal directed behaviour, across species, provides a mechanistic framework within which to understand these behavioural alterations in our patients. At its core, goal directed behaviour involves integration of the rewarding outcomes of potential actions towards goals with the costs of making these actions. This process, often referred to as effort-based decision making (EBDM), is instantiated neurally in the same regions where disruption is associated with the clinical occurrence of apathy. But EBDM has many components – with differing neurobiological substrates – that when disrupted could lead to a common phenotype of reduced motivated behaviour. This talk reviews our work elucidating the mechanisms that underlie apathy in neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and cerebral small vessel disease, using neuroimaging, physiological recordings and tasks that dissociate the effects of changing reward, effort and dopamine on behaviour.  


About Neuroscience Seminars

Neuroscience seminars at the QBI play a major role in the advancement of neuroscience in the Asia-Pacific region. The primary goal of these seminars is to promote excellence in neuroscience through the exchange of ideas, establishing new collaborations and augmenting partnerships already in place.

Seminars in the QBI Auditorium are held on Wednesdays at 12-1pm, which are sometimes simulcast on Zoom (with approval from the speaker). We also occassionally hold seminars from international speakers via Zoom. The days and times of these seminars will vary depending on the time zone of the speaker. Please see each seminar listed below for details. 


Neuroscience Seminars archive 2005-2018