Jesse H. Goldberg
Professor, Cornell University USA
Dopaminergic reward and performance error signals are gated during courtship.
Invited by Nicolas Giret
How do social interactions affect dopaminergic (DA) responses to rewards and performance outcomes? We used electrophysiology and fiber photometry to record DA signals in two mesostriatal pathways as thirsty male songbirds sang alone and to females. When alone, singing-related performance error signals were restricted to a song-specialized mesostriatal pathway; reward prediction error signals were observed globally. When singing to a female, DA responses to both water reward predicting cues and song performance outcomes diminished and were instead driven by female calls that interrupted the male’s song. Together, we discover that reward and performance error signals are differentially routed through distinct DA pathways, that DA signals dynamically change their tuning during courtship, and that an affiliative social interaction, when precisely timed, activates distinct DA systems.