C. Nico Boehler's research while affiliated with Ghent University and other places

Publications (36)

Article
Full-text available
Complex cognition requires binding together of stimulus, action, and other features, across different time scales. Several implementations of such binding have been proposed in the literature, most prominently synaptic binding (learning) and synchronization. Biologically plausible accounts of how these different types of binding interact in the hum...
Article
Full-text available
When the pupil dilates, the amount of light that falls onto the retina increases. However, in daily life, this does not make the world look brighter. Here we asked whether pupil size (resulting from active pupil movement) influences subjective brightness in the absence of indirect cues that, in daily life, support brightness constancy. We measured...
Article
Visuo-spatial attention prioritizes the processing of relevant inputs via different types of signals, including current goals and stimulus salience. Complex mixtures of these signals engage in everyday life situations, but little is known about how these signals jointly modulate distributed patterns of activity across the occipital regions that rep...
Article
Full-text available
The present study investigated the effect of background luminance on the self-reported valence ratings of auditory stimuli, as suggested by some earlier work. A secondary aim was to better characterise the effect of auditory valence on pupillary responses, on which the literature is inconsistent. Participants were randomly presented with sounds of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Complex cognition requires binding together of stimulus, action, and other features, across different time scales. Several implementations of such binding have been proposed in the literature, most prominently synaptic binding (learning) and synchronization. Biologically plausible accounts of how these different types of binding interact in the hum...
Article
We examined the effect of combined top-down and bottom-up attentional control sources, using known attention-related EEG components that are thought to re- flect target selection (N2pc) and distractor suppression (PD). We used endogenous cues (valid vs. neutral) for top-down attentional control, and salience in the form of color singletons (either...
Article
Our attention is constantly captured and guided by visual and/or auditory inputs. One key contributor to selecting relevant information from the environment is reward prospect. Intriguingly, while both multimodal signal processing and reward effects on attention have been widely studied, research on multimodal reward signals is lacking. Here, we in...
Preprint
This work reports an investigation of the effect of combined top-down and bottom-up attentional control sources, using known attention-related EEG components that are thought to reflect target selection (N2pc) and distractor suppression (PD), in easy and difficult visual search tasks.
Article
Full-text available
Objective: According to the state regulation deficit account, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with difficulties in maintaining an optimal level of cognitive arousal. As the precise locus of this problem is yet unknown, the present study investigated this through behavioral and pupillometry indices. Method: Adults sc...
Article
Incentive-valence signals have a large impact on our actions in everyday life. While it is intuitive (and most often beneficial) to approach positive and avoid negative stimuli, these prepotent response tendencies can also be maladaptive, as exemplified by clinical conditions such as overeating or pathological gambling. We have recently shown that...
Article
Theta and alpha frequency neural oscillations are important for learning and cognitive control, but their exact role has remained obscure. In particular, it is unknown whether they operate at similar timescales, and whether they support different cognitive processes. We recorded EEG in 30 healthy human participants while they performed a learning t...
Article
We found earlier that performance‐contingent rewards lead to faster performance than equivalent losses [Carsten, Hoofs, Boehler, & Krebs, 2019. Motivation Science, 5(3). http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/mot0000117]. Here, we further tested the hypothesis that motivation to gain rewards is higher than to avoid losses, even when incentive values are matched...
Preprint
Full-text available
Theta and alpha frequency neural oscillations are important for learning and cognitive control, but their exact role has remained obscure. In particular, it is unknown whether they operate at similar timescales, and whether they support different cognitive processes. We recorded EEG in 30 healthy human participants while they performed a procedural...
Article
Full-text available
Reward consistently boosts performance in cognitive tasks. Although many different reward manipulations exist, systematic comparisons are lacking. Reward effects on cognitive control are usually studied using monetary incentive delay (MID; cue-related reward information) or stimulus-reward association (SRA; target-related reward information) tasks....
Preprint
Full-text available
A growing body of behavioral evidence implicates reward prediction errors (RPEs) as a key factor in the acquisition of episodic memory. Yet, important neural predictions related to the role of RPE in declarative memory acquisition remain to be tested. Using a novel variable-choice task, we experimentally manipulated RPEs and found support for key p...
Article
Full-text available
The present study investigates interactions between incentive valence and action, which mirror well-known valence-action biases in the emotional domain. In three joystick experiments, incentive valence (win/loss) and action type (approach/avoid) were signaled by distinct orthogonal stimulus features. By combining several design aspects, i.e., the u...
Article
Full-text available
Response inhibition is essential for navigating everyday life. Its derailment is considered integral to numerous neurological and psychiatric disorders, and more generally, to a wide range of behavioral and health problems. Response-inhibition efficiency furthermore correlates with treatment outcome in some of these conditions. The stop-signal task...
Preprint
Full-text available
Response inhibition is essential for navigating everyday life. Its derailment is considered integral to numerous neurological and psychiatric disorders, and more generally, to a wide range of behavioral and health problems. Response-inhibition efficiency furthermore correlates with treatment outcome in these conditions. The stop-signal task is an e...
Article
Previous research has shown that motivational signals bias action over inaction, which may be due to putative inherent valence-action mappings, similar to those observed in the emotional domain. In the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study we sought to investigate the neural underpinnings of such reward-related response tendenc...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental stimuli can provoke specific response tendencies depending on their incentive valence. While some studies report positive-approach and negative-avoidance biases, others find no such mappings. To further illuminate the relationship between incentive valence and action requirement, we combined a cued monetary incentive paradigm with an...
Article
Reward-predictive stimuli can increase an automatic response tendency, which needs to be counteracted by effortful response inhibition when this tendency is inappropriate for the current task. Here we investigated how the human brain implements this dynamic process by adopting a reward-modulated Simon task while acquiring EEG and fMRI data in separ...
Article
It is widely assumed that individuals are more driven to avoid losses than to gain rewards. Yet, this assumption has not been explicitly tested in commonly used cognitive tasks. Here, we compared the influence of both incentives on performance in the Stroop task, in which fast and correct responses resulted in increased rewards or reduced losses. N...
Article
In instrumental task contexts, incentive manipulations such as posting reward on successful performance usually trigger increased effort, which is signified by effort markers like increased pupil size. Yet, it is not fully clear under which circumstances incentives really promote performance, and which role effort plays therein. In the present stud...
Article
Recent associative models of cognitive control hypothesize that cognitive control can be learned (optimized) for task-specific settings via associations between perceptual, motor, and control representations, and, once learned, control can be implemented rapidly. Midfrontal brain areas signal the need for control, and control is subsequently implem...
Article
Full-text available
A frequently-studied phenomenon in cognitive-control research is conflict adaptation, or the finding that congruency effects are smaller after incongruent trials. Prominent cognitive control accounts suggest that this adaptation effect can be explained by transient conflict-induced modulations of selective attention, reducing congruency effects on...
Poster
Full-text available
Previous research indicates that motivational states are modulated by reward prospects. A large number of behavioural studies have found a robust facilitation effect of reward, which has been observed across many aspects of cognitive control, including conflict processing. Recent research has focused on this relationship between control and motivat...
Article
Full-text available
Motoric inhibition is ingrained in human cognition and implicated in pervasive neurological diseases and disorders. The present electroencephalographic (EEG) study investigated proactive motivational adjustments in attention during response inhibition. We compared go-trial data from a stop-signal task, in which infrequently presented stop-signals r...
Article
Full-text available
Efficiently avoiding inappropriate actions in a changing environment is central to cognitive control. One mechanism contributing to this ability is the deliberate slowing down of responses in contexts where full response cancellation might occasionally be required, referred to as proactive response inhibition. The present electroencephalographic (E...
Article
Full-text available
Over the last two decades, the congruency sequence effect (CSE) -the finding of a reduced congruency effect following incongruent trials in conflict tasks- has played a central role in advancing research on cognitive control. According to the influential conflict-monitoring account, the CSE reflects adjustments in selective attention that enhance t...
Article
Animal studies suggest that dopaminergic neuromodulation is critical for hippocampal memory formation. Compatible with this notion, recent functional imaging evidence in humans showed that reward modulates the hippocampus-dependent formation of episodic memories through activation of areas belonging to the mesolimbic dopaminergic system, including...

Citations

... At the PLR peak for the blue stimulus, the pupil diameter was 1.66 times larger than that for the red stimulus (Fig 4). Since the PLR is driven by known photoreceptors, such as rods, cones, and intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) [41], all of which have different sensitivity characteristics [42], the amplitude of the PLR to red/blue stimuli is known to differ [43]. Szabadi et al. reported that short-wavelength light is more effective than isoluminant long-wavelength light in evoking the PLR because of the stimulation of melanopsin-containing photoreceptors [26]. ...
... display-condition), salient target (STD) may speed up RTs compared to HD (no salient signals), while salient distractors (SDD) may slow down responses. Nonetheless, it should be anticipated that the use of 100% valid cues (highly focused endogenous spatial attention) is likely to reduce/suppress the impact of exogenous salience on behavioral performance (see Luck et al., 2021 ;Rashal et al., 2022 ; and Discussion section). The accuracy data were not analyzed, because the orientationdiscrimination performance was at ceiling ( > 95%, in all conditions) most likely reflecting the use of fully-predictive 100% valid cues. ...
... In the first paradigm, the extensive learning paradigm, an agent learns simple stimulus-action associations through trial-and-error. Similar to the original paradigm (Huycke et al., 2021;Ruge & Wolfensteller, 2010), stimulus-action associations are repeated both within experimental blocks and between experimental blocks, allowing to investigate learning on a fast and a slow timescale respectively. The input vectors are orthogonal, which automatically renders the task linearly separable. ...
... Their findings show that reward reduces 'trigger failures", i.e., the rate of unsuccessful stop trials, possibly by enhancing attentional processes and invigorating specific attention-related brain areas. Hoofs et al. (2021) look at the neural underpinnings of response inhibition in the context of motivation and cognitive control interaction. Specifically, their fMRI results focus on the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a frontal area that has been implicated in cognitive control and response selection, especially in the context of conflict and value-based decision making. ...
... Although rewards and punishments are commonly used as motivational tools in education and management (Hand 2020;Indrawati, Marzuki, and Malik 2021), no empirical studies have yet directly determined which is more effective in motivating creativity. However, some studies have examined the effects of both on cognitive abilities (Carsten et al. 2019;Potts 2011) and found that the effects of getting rewards on increasing people's productivity, the accuracy of judgments, and so on, were greater than the effects of avoiding losses (Carsten et al. 2019(Carsten et al. , 2021Potts et al. 2006). Because cognitive ability (i.e. ...
... To sum up, in contrast to previous neuroscientific research in this field, we here manipulated mental effort in a task prioritization paradigm. Although we used a new manipulation of effort allocation, the goal of the current study was not to directly compare different types of task importance operationalizations as has been done before 33,35,65 . Instead, we aim to extend the findings of previous studies to a broader context. ...
... De Loof et al. (2018), for example, asked participants to learn Dutch-Swahili word pairs, in which they varied the number of Swahili alternatives for each Dutch word (affecting the precision of the prediction) and the monetary reward (to produce either positive or negative RPE). The data revealed a positive, linear relationship between signed RPE (from negative to positive) and memory performance (see also Calderon et al., 2020). Jang et al. (2019) reported a similar result, though other studies have argued that memory performance is better predicted by unsigned RPE, i.e., its magnitude regardless of sign (Rouhani et al., 2018;. ...
... subliminal primes). Introducing monetary incentives usually reduces response times (Hoofs, Boehler, & Krebs, 2019) and induces approach behaviour by enhancing motivational responding (Manohar et al., 2015). Incentivized instructed Go trials hasten response times (Filevich, Kühn, & Haggard, 2013) and externally guided Stop behaviour is similarly affected by introduction of monetary rewards (Leotti & Wager, 2010). ...
... To test this hypothesis, two behavioral indices were chosen to reflect reactive and proactive control mechanisms. As reactive control rely on inhibitory capacities to correct actions in face of changes in the environment, we used the Stop Signal task to measure reactive control capacities through the Stop Signal Reaction Time (SSRT) [17,18]. Indeed, the SSRT is a precise and reliable task evaluating the capacity to inhibit an ongoing but no longer appropriate response. ...
... The SSRT (stop signal reaction time) is then calculated with the integration method by blocks to avoid bias in the calculation of the SSRT in case of strategic slowing of responses as the task progresses (Verbruggen et al., 2013). To compensate for missing values, omissions (non-response to GO trials) were replaced by maximum RT obtained during GO trials (Verbruggen et al., 2019). ...