Levodopa does not affect expression of reinforcement learning in older adults

J. P. Grogan, H. K. Isotalus, A. Howat, N. Irigoras Izagirre, L. E. Knight, E. J. Coulthard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
304 Downloads (Pure)


Dopamine has been implicated in learning from rewards and punishment, and in the expression of this learning. However, many studies do not fully separate retrieval and decision mechanisms from learning and consolidation. Here, we investigated the effects of levodopa (dopamine precursor) on choice performance (isolated from learning or consolidation). We gave 31 healthy older adults 150mg of levodopa or placebo (doubleblinded, randomised) 1 hour before testing them on stimuli they had learned the value of the previous day. We found that levodopa did not affect the overall accuracy of choices, nor therelative expression of positively or negatively reinforced values. This contradicts several studies and suggests that overall dopamine levels may not play a role in the choice performance for values learned through reinforcement learning in older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6349
Pages (from-to)6349
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2019


  • levodopa
  • dopamine
  • reinforcement learning
  • Ageing


Dive into the research topics of 'Levodopa does not affect expression of reinforcement learning in older adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this