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Coupling stimuli and actions with positive or negative outcomes facilitates the selection of appropriate actions. Several brain regions are involved in the development of goal-directed behaviors and habit formation during incentive-based learning. This Review focuses on higher cognitive control of decision making and the cortical and subcortical structures and connections that attribute value to stimuli, associate that value with choices, and select an action plan. Delineating the connectivity between these areas is fundamental for understanding how brain regions work together to evaluate stimuli, develop actions plans, and modify behavior, as well as for elucidating the pathophysiology of psychiatric diseases.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1019 - 1039


Brain, Brain Mapping, Humans, Learning Disorders, Motivation, Nerve Net, Neural Pathways