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Motivational incentives lead to a strong increase in lateral prefrontal activity after self-control exertion


Lüthi, Matthias; Friese, Malte; Binder, Julia C; Boesiger, Peter; Luechinger, Roger; Rasch, Björn (2016). Motivational incentives lead to a strong increase in lateral prefrontal activity after self-control exertion. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11(10):1618-1626.

Abstract

Self-control is key to success in life. Initial acts of self-control temporarily impair subsequent self-control performance. Why such self-control failures occur is unclear, with prominent models postulating a loss of a limited resource vs a loss of motivation, respectively. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify the neural correlates of motivation-induced benefits on self-control. Participants initially exerted or did not exert self-control. In a subsequent Stroop task, participants performed worse after exerting self-control, but not if they were motivated to perform well by monetary incentives. On the neural level, having exerted self-control resulted in decreased activation in the left inferior frontal gyrus. Increasing motivation resulted in a particularly strong activation of this area specifically after exerting self-control. Thus, after self-control exertion participants showed more prefrontal neural activity without improving performance beyond baseline level. These findings suggest that impaired performance after self-control exertion may not exclusively be due to a loss of motivation.

Abstract

Self-control is key to success in life. Initial acts of self-control temporarily impair subsequent self-control performance. Why such self-control failures occur is unclear, with prominent models postulating a loss of a limited resource vs a loss of motivation, respectively. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify the neural correlates of motivation-induced benefits on self-control. Participants initially exerted or did not exert self-control. In a subsequent Stroop task, participants performed worse after exerting self-control, but not if they were motivated to perform well by monetary incentives. On the neural level, having exerted self-control resulted in decreased activation in the left inferior frontal gyrus. Increasing motivation resulted in a particularly strong activation of this area specifically after exerting self-control. Thus, after self-control exertion participants showed more prefrontal neural activity without improving performance beyond baseline level. These findings suggest that impaired performance after self-control exertion may not exclusively be due to a loss of motivation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Engineering
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPsych Erstautor
Date:October 2016
Deposited On:18 Nov 2016 12:11
Last Modified:14 Sep 2017 13:08
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1749-5016
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsw073
PubMed ID:27217108

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