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Dopamine is associated with a number of aspects of reward learning and action selection. The neurotransmitter also plays a role in various mental disorders and is important for self-motivation: according to one theory, it regulates how much effort is spent on actions, or how quickly they are performed.
In addition to its well-known functions, dopamine also seems to regulate a speed-accuracy trade-off. This describes the complex relation between a person's willingness to react slowly and make relatively fewer mistakes, and their willingness to react quickly and make relatively more mistakes.
The scientists were able to show that when dopamine release was elevated pharmacologically, the parameter that represents this speed-accuracy trade-off was reduced. This effect was stronger the faster the participants made decisions.
”These findings link two previously rather distinct theories on the role of dopamine," said Professor Dr. Jan Peters, Professor of Biological Psychology of the University of Cologne, who contributed to the study. "Dopamine controls motor response, but it can also regulate effort. Our data show a mechanism that could link these two aspects by shifting the speed-accuracy trade-off in favor of speed."
“An idea is something that won’t work unless you do.” - Thomas A. Edison
A recent study provides new insight into the relationship between the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine and decision-making processes. The scientists found that when dopamine is released, decisions are made faster, but tend to be more inaccurate.
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