Motivation and emotion/Book/2022/Nucleus accumbens and motivation

Nucleus accumbens and motivation:
What role does the nucleus accumbens play in motivation?


    Figure 1. The anatomical position of the Nucleus Accumbens in the Basal Forebrain
    The Nucleus Accumbens is considered to be the neural meeting point between motivation and action
  • The Nucleus Accumbens (NA) is located in the Basal Forebrain, and is a major component of the Ventral Striatum. It sits between the Caudate and Putamen.
  • The Nucleus Accumbens is divided into two components - the outer shell and the inner core.
  • Best known for being part of the reward Centre.

Focus questions:

  • What is the first focus question?
  • What is the second focus question?
  • What is the third focus question?


Suggestions for this section:

  • What is the problem? Why is it important?
  • How can specific motivation and/or emotion theories and research help?
  • Provide an example or case study.
  • Conclude with Focus questions to guide the chapter.

Why is the NA important?Edit

  • The NA plays a pivotal role in motivation, given

The reward system and DopamineEdit

  • The NA responds to signals of reward (via the release of Dopamine) to produce pleasure, wanting, liking and approach.
  • Dopamine is released by the Ventral Tegmental Area, via the mesolimbic dopamine pathway, to the NA, and ends in the basal ganglia.
  • Once the Ventral Striatum is activated via the release of Dopamine, it translates the experience of reward into motivational force, approach behaviour, and the exertion of physical effort

Theories of relevanceEdit


Attainment and pursuit of rewardEdit

  • The prefrontal cortex a conscious experience of pleasure, and in the orbitofrontal cortex stores the learned reward value, to code memory of particular environmental stimuli.
  • The anticipation of a reward releases dopamine
  • The NA is involved in the pursuit of reward, and aversion of punishing stimuli


  • The pleasure Cycle - Typical vs Muted
  • Rat Park Studies
  • Rat Paradise studies


Blunt dopamine receptors

Mood state

  Suggestions for this section:

  • For the topic development, provide at least 3 bullet-points about key content per section. Include key citations.
  • For the book chapter, expand the bullet points into paragraphs.
  • If a section has a lot of content, arrange it into two to five sub-headings such as in the interactive learning features section. Avoid having sections with only one sub-heading.

Learning featuresEdit

What brings an online book chapter to life are its interactive learning features. Case studies, feature boxes, figures, links, tables, and quiz questions can be used throughout the chapter.

Case studiesEdit

Here is where I will provide some of the information from the various cocaine experiments from rat parks. I will attempt to do this in feature boxes.


Feature box example
  • Shaded background
  • Coloured border


Use figures to illustrate concepts, add interest, and provide examples. Figures can be used to show photographs, drawings, diagrams, graphs, etcetera. Figures can be embedded throughout the chapter, starting with the Overview section. Figures should be captioned (using a number and a description) in order to explain their relevance to the text. Possible images can be found at Wikimedia Commons. Images can also be uploaded if they are licensed for re-use or if you created the image. Each figure should be referred to at least once in the main text (e.g., see Figure 1).


Where key words are first used, make them into interwiki links such as Wikipedia links to articles about famous people (e.g., Sigmund Freud and key concepts (e.g., dreams) and links to book chapters about related topics (e.g., would you like to learn about how to overcome writer's block?).


Tables can be an effective way to organise and summarise information. Tables should be captioned (using APA style) to explain their relevance to the text. Plus each table should be referred to at least once in the main text (e.g., see Table 1 and Table 2).

Here are some example 3 x 3 tables which could be adapted.


Quizzes are a direct way to engage readers. But don't make quizzes too hard or long. It is better to have one or two review questions per major section than a long quiz at the end. Try to quiz conceptual understanding, rather than trivia.

Here are some simple quiz questions which could be adapted. Choose the correct answers and click "Submit":

1 Quizzes are an interactive learning feature:


2 Long quizzes are a good idea:


To learn about different types of quiz questions, see Quiz.


The Conclusion is arguably the most important section. It should be possible for someone to read the Overview and the Conclusion and still get a good idea of the topic.

  Suggestions for this section:

  • What is the answer to the question in the sub-title (based on psychological theory and research)?
  • What are the answers to the focus questions?
  • What are the practical, take-home messages?

See alsoEdit

Provide up to half-a-dozen internal (wiki) links to relevant Wikiversity pages (esp. related motivation and emotion book chapters) and Wikipedia articles. For example:

  Suggestions for this section:

  • Present in alphabetical order.
  • Include the source in parentheses.


Deci, R. M., & Ryan, E. L. (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 54-67.

Floresco SB. The nucleus accumbens: an interface between cognition, emotion, and action. Annu Rev Psychol. 2015 Jan 3;66:25-52. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-010213-115159. Epub 2014 Sep 17.

Kohls G, Perino MT, Taylor JM, Madva EN, Cayless SJ, Troiani V, Price E, Faja S, Herrington JD, Schultz RT. The nucleus accumbens is involved in both the pursuit of social reward and the avoidance of social punishment. Neuropsychologia. 2013 Sep;51(11):2062-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2013.07.020. Epub 2013 Aug 1. PMID: 23911778; PMCID: PMC3799969.

Reeve, J. (2018). Understanding motivation and emotion (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Volman SF, Lammel S, Margolis EB, Kim Y, Richard JM, Roitman MF, Lobo MK. New insights into the specificity and plasticity of reward and aversion encoding in the mesolimbic system. J Neurosci. 2013 Nov 6;33(45):17569-76. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3250-13.2013. PMID: 24198347; PMCID: PMC3818538.

  Suggestions for this section:

  • Important aspects for APA style include:
    • Wrap the set of references in the hanging indent template. Using "Edit source": {{Hanging indent|1= the full list of references}}
    • Author surname, followed by a comma, then author initials separated by full stops and spaces
    • Year of publication in parentheses
    • Title of work in lower case except first letter and proper names, ending in a full-stop.
    • Journal title in italics, volume number in italics, issue number in parentheses, first and last page numbers separated by an en-dash(–), followed by a full-stop.
    • Provide the full doi as a URL and working hyperlink
  • Common mistakes include:
    • incorrect capitalisation
    • incorrect italicisation
    • providing a "retrieved from" date (not part of APA 7th ed. style).
    • citing sources that weren't actually read or consulted

External linksEdit

Temporal Motivation Theory (

  Suggestions for this section:

  • Only select links to major external resources about the topic
  • Present in alphabetical order
  • Include the source in parentheses after the link