Incentive motivation is associated with striatal dopamine asymmetry

Rachel Tomer, Rita Z. Goldstein, Gene Jack Wang, Christopher Wong, Nora D. Volkow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dopamine plays an important role in modulating incentive motivation, expressed behaviorally as approach behavior. EEG studies report association between approach behavior and asymmetric pattern of activation in anterior cortical regions (as measured by the inverse of EEG alpha power). Therefore, individual differences in incentive motivation may reflect asymmetries in dopaminergic systems. We examined this hypothesis by studying the relationship between self-reported degree of incentive motivation, and asymmetry of D2 receptor availability in healthy volunteers. Nineteen healthy participants were studied with positron emission tomography (PET) and [11C]raclopride to assess the availability of dopamine D2 receptors in left and right striatum. Incentive motivation was assessed by the Achievement scale of the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire. The Achievement score was negatively correlated with the Asymmetry Index ([R - L]/[R + L]) of D2 receptor availability (r = -.721, p = .001), suggesting that greater positive incentive motivation is associated with higher receptor availability in the left relative to the right hemisphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-101
Number of pages4
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Asymmetry
  • Dopamine
  • Motivation
  • Striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • General Neuroscience


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