Working memory updating
Thus, the release of dopamine when a gating signal should occur can strengthen the likelihood that this signal will occur again under similar circumstances in the future, providing an adaptive, self-organizing mechanism for learning the timing of gating signals.
The new context information is then maintained until the next gating signal occurs.
Phasic dopamine signals have been proposed to implement a form of reinforcement learning (24).
According to this theory, the phasic release of dopamine acts as a learning signal that is used to predict when rewards will occur.
On the other hand, PFC representations cannot be so resistant to modification that they perseverate when task demands or goals change.
Understanding the mechanisms that allow us to persist in pursuing a goal in the face of distraction and yet flexibly adapt behavior when circumstances change is critical not only for understanding the remarkably adaptive nature of normal human behavior, but also how and why the mechanisms involved break down in disease, yielding to distractibility and/or perseveration.