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Elife. 2017 May 15;6. pii: e22169. doi: 10.7554/eLife.22169.

Catecholaminergic challenge uncovers distinct Pavlovian and instrumental mechanisms of motivated (in)action.

Author information

1
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
2
School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
3
Department of Psychiatry, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
4
Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, United States.
5
Brown Institute for Brain Sciences, Brown University, Providence, United States.

Abstract

Catecholamines modulate the impact of motivational cues on action. Such motivational biases have been proposed to reflect cue-based, 'Pavlovian' effects. Here, we assess whether motivational biases may also arise from asymmetrical instrumental learning of active and passive responses following reward and punishment outcomes. We present a novel paradigm, allowing us to disentangle the impact of reward and punishment on instrumental learning from Pavlovian response biasing. Computational analyses showed that motivational biases reflect both Pavlovian and instrumental effects: reward and punishment cues promoted generalized (in)action in a Pavlovian manner, whereas outcomes enhanced instrumental (un)learning of chosen actions. These cue- and outcome-based biases were altered independently by the catecholamine enhancer melthylphenidate. Methylphenidate's effect varied across individuals with a putative proxy of baseline dopamine synthesis capacity, working memory span. Our study uncovers two distinct mechanisms by which motivation impacts behaviour, and helps refine current models of catecholaminergic modulation of motivated action.

KEYWORDS:

dopamine; human; learning; motivational biases; neuroscience

PMID:
28504638
PMCID:
PMC5432212
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.22169
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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