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Reward systems are one of the most actively studied topics in (cognitive) neuroscience and prediction error - that is, deviations from expected "future" reward - play a big role in that. Since you're particularly interested in models, I recommend checking out the work of Matt Botvinick and Nathaniel Daw. Here are a few papers that might be good starting ...


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Hamid et al. Mesolimbic dopamine signals the value of work. Nature Neuroscience 2016. http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v19/n1/full/nn.4173.html Here is a paper that argues that dopamine signals discounted value of future returns. This is precisely what you are asking. the authors argue, that if rewards are further away in time or space, they are ...



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