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Causal role of lateral prefrontal cortex in mental effort and fatigue


Soutschek, Alexander; Tobler, Philippe N (2020). Causal role of lateral prefrontal cortex in mental effort and fatigue. Human Brain Mapping, 41(16):4630-4640.

Abstract

Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is well‐known for its role in exerting mental work, however the contribution of DLPFC for deciding whether or not to engage in effort remains unknown. Here, we assessed the causal role of DLPFC in effort‐based decision making. We disrupted functioning of DLPFC with noninvasive brain stimulation before participants repeatedly decided whether to exert mental effort in a working memory task. We found the same DLPFC subregion involved in mental effort exertion to influence also effort‐based decisions: First, it enhanced effort discounting, suggesting that DLPFC may signal the capacity to successfully deal with effort demands. Second, a novel computational model integrating the costs of enduring effort into the effort‐based decision process revealed that DLPFC disruption reduced fatigue after accumulated effort exertion, linking DLPFC activation with fatigue. Together, our findings indicate that in effort‐based decisions DLPFC represents the capacity to exert mental effort and the updating of this information with enduring time‐on‐task, informing theoretical accounts on the role of DLPFC in the motivation to exert mental effort and the fatigue arising from it.

Abstract

Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is well‐known for its role in exerting mental work, however the contribution of DLPFC for deciding whether or not to engage in effort remains unknown. Here, we assessed the causal role of DLPFC in effort‐based decision making. We disrupted functioning of DLPFC with noninvasive brain stimulation before participants repeatedly decided whether to exert mental effort in a working memory task. We found the same DLPFC subregion involved in mental effort exertion to influence also effort‐based decisions: First, it enhanced effort discounting, suggesting that DLPFC may signal the capacity to successfully deal with effort demands. Second, a novel computational model integrating the costs of enduring effort into the effort‐based decision process revealed that DLPFC disruption reduced fatigue after accumulated effort exertion, linking DLPFC activation with fatigue. Together, our findings indicate that in effort‐based decisions DLPFC represents the capacity to exert mental effort and the updating of this information with enduring time‐on‐task, informing theoretical accounts on the role of DLPFC in the motivation to exert mental effort and the fatigue arising from it.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Anatomy
Health Sciences > Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
Health Sciences > Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging
Life Sciences > Neurology
Health Sciences > Neurology (clinical)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Anatomy, radiological and ultrasound technology, radiology nuclear medicine and imaging, neurology, clinical neurology
Language:English
Date:November 2020
Deposited On:06 Nov 2020 13:32
Last Modified:07 Nov 2020 21:00
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1065-9471
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.25146
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID100014_165884
  • : Project TitleThe role of dopamine in value-based decision making
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDCRSII5_177277
  • : Project TitleThe Foundations of Successful Financial Decision Making
  • : FunderFP7
  • : Grant ID219811
  • : Project TitleGENS - Genomic Approach to Study the Role of Bacterioplankton in the Sulfur Cycle

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