Psychologie & NeuroPsychiatrie du vieillissement


Biologie de la motivation Volume 2, issue 3, Septembre 2004

 Département de pharmacologie, Centre Mémoire Ressources Recherche de Bretagne, Université de Rennes I  Département de pharmacologie, Fédération de neurologie Mazarin, CHU Pitié Salpêtrière, Paris

Motivation is a concept largely studied by modern psychology and mainly applied in the fields of learning at school, performance at work, competition in sport. Recently neuropsychiatry put forward the syndrom of apathy, a major disorder of the motivation which appears as frequently observed in several neurodegenerative disorders and in particular in Alzheimer’s disease. The question raised in the present review is to detect and gather the data which would prove the existence of a physiology and a neurobiology of the motivation, a real prerequisite for any pharmacological project. Precisely, frontal lobe and cingular cortex appear as critical in the activation of motivationnal process. Acetylcholine and dopamine, at the present time, are considered as the main neurotransmitters involved in such anatomical circuits explaining that pharmacology focuses its interest on acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and dopamine agonists. Studies specifically devoted to motivation and apathy are anxiously expected and should be based on the most recent acquisitions of the neurophilosophy.