Making sense: dopamine activates conscious self-monitoring through medial prefrontal cortex

Joensson, M., Thomsen, K. R., Andersen, L. M., Gross, J. , Mouridsen, K., Sandberg, K., Østergaard, L. and Lou, H. C. (2015) Making sense: dopamine activates conscious self-monitoring through medial prefrontal cortex. Human Brain Mapping, 36(5), pp. 1866-1877. (doi: 10.1002/hbm.22742) (PMID:25627861) (PMCID:PMC4737196)

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When experiences become meaningful to the self, they are linked to synchronous activity in a paralimbic network of self-awareness and dopaminergic activity. This network includes medial prefrontal and medial parietal/posterior cingulate cortices, where transcranial magnetic stimulation may transiently impair self-awareness. Conversely, we hypothesize that dopaminergic stimulation may improve self-awareness and metacognition (i.e., the ability of the brain to consciously monitor its own cognitive processes). Here, we demonstrate improved noetic (conscious) metacognition by oral administration of 100 mg dopamine in minimal self-awareness. In a separate experiment with extended self-awareness dopamine improved the retrieval accuracy of memories of self-judgment (autonoetic, i.e., explicitly self-conscious) metacognition. Concomitantly, magnetoencephalography (MEG) showed increased amplitudes of oscillations (power) preferentially in the medial prefrontal cortex. Given that electromagnetic activity in this region is instrumental in self-awareness, this explains the specific effect of dopamine on explicit self-awareness and autonoetic metacognition.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gross, Professor Joachim and Joensson, Mr Morten
Authors: Joensson, M., Thomsen, K. R., Andersen, L. M., Gross, J., Mouridsen, K., Sandberg, K., Østergaard, L., and Lou, H. C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Human Brain Mapping
Publisher:Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
ISSN (Online):1097-0193
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Human Brain Mapping 36(5):1866-1877
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
597051Natural and modulated neural communication: State-dependent decoding and driving of human Brain Oscillations.Joachim GrossWellcome Trust (WELLCOME)098433/Z/12/ZINP - CENTRE FOR COGNITIVE NEUROIMAGING