Interactions Between Cues that Predict Positive and Negative Events - Dr Vincent Laurent

What is this research about?

Animals, including humans, readily learn about cues that predict motivationally significant events. They learn that a cue is aversive when it signals a negative or feared event (e.g., a loud noise) and they learn that a cue is appetitive when it signals a positive or negative event (e.g., food).

Theorists have long argued that these two forms of learning are driven by two distinct and opposite motivational systems: an aversive one for the former and an appetitive on for the latter. Interactions between these two motivational systems are implied by most theories, but their study has received very little attention.

The aim is to describe the psychological and neural processes underlying appetitive-aversive interactions and their influence on learning and decision-making. Understanding these processes is critical as we live in a complex world in which positive and negative events co-exist and interact to influence our behaviour.

Other researchers involved:

Scientia Professor Fred Westbrook

Scientia Professor Bernard Balleine


ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2014-2016) – Neural substrates underlying appetitive aversive interactions – Laurent

UNSW Goldstar Grant (2017) – Laurent & Westbrook


Decision Neuroscience Laboratory – Westbrook’s lab