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Testing altered learning in the D2 corticostriatal pathway with antipsychotic exposure


Antipsychotic medications can be successful in alleviating the positive symptoms of psychosis, such as delusions and hallucinations, but are unsuccessful at treating the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, including emotional flatness and lack of motivation. Antipsychotic medications, such as Haloperidol, are Dopamine D2 receptor blockers and are involved in learning, motivation, reward, movement and coordination. There is evidence that a blockade of D2 receptors can bias individuals to learn more from \"negative\" outcomes, and that this can be due to an altered balance of receptor activation in regions of the cortico-striatal pathway responsible for reward processing. In other words, certain pathways in the brain become strengthened such that there is a bias toward learning from negative outcomes and omission of expected rewards. Our prediction is that a long-term D2 blockade, such as during antipsychotic treatment with Haloperidol, may generate increased learning from negative outcomes and suppressed motivation, possibly contributing to lack of efficacy in the treatment of negative symptoms of schizophrenia.


Hill, Melissa, and Warwick, Hunter, "Testing altered learning in the D2 corticostriatal pathway with antipsychotic exposure" (2015). Summer Research Symposium. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.



  • Summer Research Symposium

    Each year, Brown University showcases the research of its undergraduates at the Summer Research Symposium. More than half of the student-researchers are UTRA recipients, while others receive funding from a variety of Brown-administered and national programs and fellowships and go …