Addiction as Compulsive Reward Prediction

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Science  10 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5703, pp. 1901-1902
DOI: 10.1126/science.1107071

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What compels drug addicts to consume cocaine in preference to more rewarding alternatives and in the face of heavy costs? In his Perspective, Ahmed discusses a computational model of cocaine addiction (Redish) that challenges current rational theories of addiction. In this model, cocaine use is predicted to lead inexorably to a decrease in total future rewards by corrupting the brain's neural pathways that predict and weigh future rewards.