Anticipatory neural activity preceding behaviorally important events has been reported in cortex, striatum, and midbrain dopamine neurons. Whereas dopamine neurons are phasically activated by reward-predictive stimuli, anticipatory activity of cortical and striatal neurons is increased during delay periods before important events. Characteristics of dopa-mine neuron activity resemble those of the prediction error signal of the temporal difference (TD) model of Pavlovian learning (Sutton & Barto, 1990). This study demonstrates that the prediction signal of the TD model reproduces characteristics of cortical and striatal anticipatory neural activity. This finding suggests that tonic anticipatory activities may reflect prediction signals that are involved in the processing of dopamine neuron activity.

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