2-Minute Neuroscience: Ventral Tegmental Area

In this video, I discuss the ventral tegmental area, or VTA. The VTA is one of the two largest dopaminergic regions of the brain (the other being the substantia nigra). Dopamine neurons leave the VTA in several different pathways and project throughout the brain. The mesocortical pathway projects from the VTA to widespread areas of the cerebral cortex and has diverse functions including motivation, emotion, and executive functions. The mesolimbic pathway projects from the VTA to several limbic structures; the largest projection is to the nucleus accumbens. The mesolimbic pathway also has diverse functions but is best known for its role in processing rewarding stimuli.