Poster D36, Monday, March 27, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Different Levels of Intrinsic Reward Modulate Cognitive Control Allocation While Performing a Naturalistic Behavioral Task
Richard Huskey1, Britney Craighead2, Michael Miller2, Rene Weber2; 1The Ohio State University, 2University of California Santa Barbara
Cognitive control (Miller & Cohen, 2001) is an important framework for understanding the neuropsychological processes that underlie the successful completion of everyday tasks. Only recently has research in this area investigated motivational contributions to control allocation (Botvinick & Braver, 2014). An important gap in our understanding is the way in which intrinsic rewards associated with a task motivate the sustained allocation of control (Braver et al., 2014). In three behavioral (n = 122, 110, 87) and one functional magnetic resonance imaging (n = 18) studies, we use a naturalistic and open-sourced simulator to show that changes in the balance between task difficulty and an individual’s ability to perform the task result in different levels of attentional engagement and intrinsic reward which motivates dynamic shifts between networked brain states. Brain-mapping and psychophysiological interaction analyses show that high levels of intrinsic reward associated with a balance between task difficulty and individual ability correspond with increased connectivity between cognitive control and reward networks. By comparison, a mismatch between task difficulty and individual ability is associated with lower levels of intrinsic reward and corresponds to increased activity within the default mode network. Insular activation suggests that motivational salience, as defined by the level of intrinsic reward, drives shifts between networked brain states associated with task engagement or disengagement. These results underscore recent theorizing suggesting that higher order cognitions and their resulting behaviors are not easily reducible to their lower-level constitute parts, especially when considering the relationship between cognition and motivation (Pessoa, 2008).
Topic Area: EXECUTIVE PROCESSES: Goal maintenance & switching