Neural processing of reward magnitude under varying attentional demands.

Department of Neurology and Centre for Advanced Imaging, Otto-von-Guericke-University, Leipziger Str. 44, 39120 Magdeburg, Germany.
Brain research (Impact Factor: 2.83). 02/2011; 1383:218-29. DOI: 10.1016/j.brainres.2011.01.095
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Central to the organization of behavior is the ability to represent the magnitude of a prospective reward and the costs related to obtaining it. Therein, reward-related neural activations are discounted in dependence of the effort required to resolve a given task. Varying attentional demands of the task might however affect reward-related neural activations. Here we employed fMRI to investigate the neural representation of expected values during a monetary incentive delay task with varying attentional demands. Following a cue, indicating at the same time the difficulty (hard/easy) and the reward magnitude (high/low) of the upcoming trial, subjects performed an attention task and subsequently received feedback about their monetary reward. Consistent with previous results, activity in anterior-cingulate, insular/orbitofrontal and mesolimbic regions co-varied with the anticipated reward-magnitude, but also with the attentional requirements of the task. These activations occurred contingent on action-execution and resembled the response time pattern of the subjects. In contrast, cue-related activations, signaling the forthcoming task-requirements, were only observed within attentional control structures. These results suggest that anticipated reward-magnitude and task-related attentional demands are concurrently processed in partially overlapping neural networks of anterior-cingulate, insular/orbitofrontal, and mesolimbic regions.

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Available from: Christian Michael Stoppel, Jul 25, 2014
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    • "If this had been merely an effect of expected reward value, the low-difficulty reward trials should have triggered the largest CNV wave. An important difference to the earlier neuroeconomic experiments was that in the present study participants had to start preparing for the upcoming task in response to the cue, which in our opinion relies on a neural network that overlaps with reward-related processes (see also Stoppel et al., 2011). Subsequent to the preparation phase, the early perceptual processing of the target was not affected by the reward or difficulty manipulation , which is consistent with earlier reports (Baines et al., 2011; Hughes et al., 2012) that could not find an early reward impact in the target P1– N1 component in their cueing paradigms. "
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