The flexible control of motivational strategy: role of dopamine

Dopamine has long been implicated in cognitive control. Cognitive control is increasingly recognized to involve meta-decision making between distinct computational strategies, as illustrated by the safety-efficiency, stability-flexibility, labor-leisure and control-autopilot tradeoffs. In my talk, I will present pharmacological intervention studies addressing the role of dopamine in a specific type of computational dilemma, that between instrumental and Pavlovian control of reward-based decision-making. The work illustrates how pharmacological intervention studies can help disentangle several alternative accounts of dopamine’s role in the motivational biasing of decision-making.


Roshan Cools is Principal Investigator at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour and Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry at the Radboud University Medical Center. She is an expert in the chemical neuromodulation of human cognition and motivation. Her PhD is from the University of Cambridge (UK), where she trained with Trevor Robbins and held Royal Society research fellowships. She also did a postdoc at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at UC Berkeley, with Mark D’Esposito. At the Donders, she steers an active research group (, combining psychopharmacology, fMRI, chemical PET imaging, computational cognitive modelling, neurostimulation and patient work to unravel how the adaptive control of behaviour is modulated by the major ascending neuromodulators, including dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline. She holds a Horizon Europe ERC Advanced grant, and is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Meeting ID: 811 8969 2080
Passcode: 125174