Neural mechanisms underlying the impact of daylong cognitive work on economic decisions

  title={Neural mechanisms underlying the impact of daylong cognitive work on economic decisions},
  author={Bastien Blain and Guillaume Hollard and Mathias Pessiglione},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},
  pages={6967 - 6972}
Significance In evolved species, resisting the temptation of immediate rewards is a critical ability for the achievement of long-term goals. This self-control ability was found to rely on the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC), which also is involved in executive control processes such as working memory or task switching. Here we show that self-control capacity can be altered in healthy humans at the time scale of a workday, by performing difficult executive control tasks. This fatigue effect… 

Figures from this paper

The Temporal Dynamics of Opportunity Costs: A Normative Account of Cognitive Fatigue and Boredom
This paper proposes that both fatigue and boredom reflect the competing value of particular options that require foregoing immediate reward but can improve future performance, and demonstrates that these accounts provide a mechanistically explicit and parsimonious account for a wide array of findings related to cognitive control.
Cognitive resilience after prolonged task performance: an ERP investigation
Results indicate that a moderate increase in subjective fatigue does not hinder cognitive functions profoundly and suggests that the cognitive system can be resilient against challenges instigated by demanding task performance.
Neural Mechanisms for Adaptive Learned Avoidance of Mental Effort
It is suggested that humans adaptively learn to avoid mental effort, having neural mechanisms to represent expected cost and cost-prediction error, and the same mechanisms operate for various types of cognitive demand.
Keeping things in mind for future thinking: Arithmetic booster reduces delay discounting
Comparing with the impacts of three control tasks, it is found that individuals’ impulsivity was significantly reduced as an effect of arithmetic working memory task, but not of associative memory task.
Detours increase local knowledge—Exploring the hidden benefits of self-control failure
It is proposed that the hidden benefit of self-control failure lies in the exploration of distractors present during goal pursuit, i.e. the collection of information about the environment and the potential discovery of new sources of reward.
Neural and computational mechanisms of momentary fatigue and persistence in effort-based choice
It is shown that two hidden states of fatigue fluctuate on a moment-to-moment basis on different timescales but both reduce the willingness to exert effort for reward.
Testing the ego-depletion effect in optimized conditions
The findings suggest that, even in a context chosen to optimize the observation of an ego-depletion effect, it seems difficult to be conclusive about the existence of this effect.


Self-Control in Decision-Making Involves Modulation of the vmPFC Valuation System
Two hypotheses about the neurobiology of self-control are proposed: (i) Goal-directed decisions have their basis in a common value signal encoded in ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), and (ii) exercising self- control involves the modulation of this value signal by dorsolateral cortex (DLPFC).
Neural and Behavioral Evidence for an Intrinsic Cost of Self-Control
Through a neuroimaging meta-analysis, an anatomical link between self-control and the registration of cognitive effort costs is established and predicts that individuals who strongly avoid cognitive demand should also display poor self- control.
Prefrontal cortex, cognitive control, and the registration of decision costs
Two functional MRI experiments that implicate lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) in this function imply that costs may be registered based on the degree to which control mechanisms are recruited during decision-making.
Imaging Fatigue of Interference Control Reveals the Neural Basis of Executive Resource Depletion
The neural correlates underlying the fatigue or depletion of interference control, an executive process hypothesized to mediate competition among candidate memory representations, are investigated and it is suggested that depletion may pose a significant limitation on the cognitive and neural resources available for executive control.
Does the Brain Consume Additional Glucose during Self-Control Tasks?
  • R. Kurzban
  • Psychology
    Evolutionary psychology : an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior
  • 2010
From the standpoint of evolved function, glucose might better be thought of as an input to decision making systems rather than as a constraint on performance.
Beliefs about willpower determine the impact of glucose on self-control
It is suggested that the belief that willpower is limited sensitizes people to cues about their available resources including physiological cues, making them dependent on glucose boosts for high self-control performance.
Ego Depletion—Is It All in Your Head?
The findings suggest that reduced self-control after a depleting task or during demanding periods may reflect people’s beliefs about the availability of willpower rather than true resource depletion.
Self-control relies on glucose as a limited energy source: willpower is more than a metaphor.
It is suggested that self-control relies on glucose as a limited energy source, and a single act of self- Control causes glucose to drop below optimal levels, thereby impairing subsequent attempts at self- control.