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Although an enhancing effect of reward on cognitive performance has been observed consistently, its neural underpinnings remain elusive. Recent evidence suggests that the inferior frontal junction (IFJ) may be a key player underlying such an enhancement by integrating motivational processes and cognitive control. However, its exact role and in particular a potential causality of IFJ activation is still unclear. In the present study, we therefore investigated the causal contributions of the left IFJ in motivated task switching by temporarily disrupting its activity using continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS, Exp.1) or 1Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS, Exp.2). After TMS application over the left IFJ or a control site (vertex), participants performed a switch task in which numbers had to be judged by magnitude or parity. Different amounts of monetary rewards (high vs low) were used to manipulate the participants' motivational states. We measured reaction times and error rates. Irrespective of TMS stimulation, participants exhibited slower responses following task switches compared to task repeats. This effect was reduced in high reward trials. Importantly, we found that disrupting the IFJ improved participants' behavioral performance in the high reward condition. For high reward trials exclusively, error rates decreased when the IFJ was modulated with cTBS or 1Hz rTMS but not after vertex stimulation. Our results suggest that the left IFJ is causally related to the increase in cognitive performance through reward.
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Tendency toward a lessened strength of response due to practice or activity. It is independent of the effect of reward and is a direct function of time interval since the last response and the number of preceding responses.
A set of cognitive functions that controls complex, goal-directed thought and behavior. Executive function involves multiple domains, such as CONCEPT FORMATION, goal management, cognitive flexibility, INHIBITION control, and WORKING MEMORY. Impaired executive function is seen in a range of disorders, e.g., SCHIZOPHRENIA; and ADHD.
The tendency to devalue an outcome as a function of its temporal delay or probability of achievement. It can be evaluated in a psychological paradigm that involves the choice between receiving a smaller immediate reward or a larger delayed reward, and may be used to provide a measure of impulsive behavior.
Any situation where an animal or human is trained to respond differentially to two stimuli (e.g., approach and avoidance) under reward and punishment conditions and subsequently trained under reversed reward values (i.e., the approach which was previously rewarded is punished and vice versa).
An effect usually, but not necessarily, beneficial that is attributable to an expectation that the regimen will have an effect, i.e., the effect is due to the power of suggestion.