36 Citations (Scopus)


Background While multiple studies have examined the brain functional correlates of reward, meta-analyses have either focused on studies using the monetary incentive delay (MID) task, or have adopted a broad strategy, combining data from studies using both monetary and non-monetary reward, as probed using a wide range of tasks. Objective To meta-analyze fMRI studies that used monetary reward and in which there was a definable cue-reward contingency. Studies were limited to those using monetary reward in order to avoid potential heterogeneity from use of other rewards, especially social rewards. Studies using gambling or delay discounting tasks were excluded on the grounds that reward anticipation is not easily quantifiable. Study eligibility English-language fMRI studies (i) that reported fMRI findings on healthy adults; (ii) that used monetary reward; and (iii) in which a cue that was predictive of reward was compared to a no win (or lesser win) condition. Only voxel-based studies were included; those where brain coverage was incomplete were excluded. Data sources Ovid, Medline and PsycInfo, from 2000 to 2020, plus checking of review articles and metaanalyses. Data synthesis Data were pooled using Seed-based d Mapping with Permutation of Subject Images (SDMPSI). Heterogeneity among studies was examined using the I2 statistic. Publication bias was examined using funnel plots and statistical examination of asymmetries. Moderator variables including whether the task was pre-learnt, sex distribution, amount of money won and width of smoothing kernel were examined. Results Pooled data from 45 studies of reward anticipation revealed activations in the ventral striatum, the middle cingulate cortex/supplementary motor area and the insula. Pooled data from 28 studies of reward delivery again revealed ventral striatal activation, plus cortical activations in the anterior and posterior cingulate cortex. There was relatively little evidence of publication bias. Among moderating variables, only whether the task was pre-learnt exerted an influence. Conclusions According to this meta-analysis monetary reward anticipation and delivery both activate the ventral but not the dorsal striatum, and are associated with different patterns of cortical activation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0255292
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8 August
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Brain activations associated with anticipation and delivery of monetary reward: A systematic review and meta-analysis of fMRI studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this