Modulation of working memory function by motivation through loss-aversion

Daniel C. Krawczyk, Mark D'Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cognitive performance is affected by motivation. Few studies, however, have investigated the neural mechanisms of the influence of motivation through potential monetary punishment on working memory. We employed functional MRI during a delayed recognition task that manipulated top-down control demands with added monetary incentives to some trials in the form of potential losses of bonus money. Behavioral performance on the task was influenced by loss-threatening incentives in the form of faster and more accurate performance. As shown previously, we found enhancement of activity for relevant stimuli occurs throughout all task periods (e.g., stimulus encoding, maintenance, and response) in both prefrontal and visual association cortex. Further, these activation patterns were enhanced for trials with possible monetary loss relative to nonincentive trials. During the incentive cue, the amygdala and striatum showed significantly greater activation when money was at a possible loss on the trial. We also evaluated patterns of functional connectivity between regions responsive to monetary consequences and prefrontal areas responsive to the task. This analysis revealed greater delay period connectivity between and the left insula and prefrontal cortex with possible monetary loss relative to nonincentive trials. Overall, these results reveal that incentive motivation can modulate performance on working memory tasks through top-down signals via amplification of activity within prefrontal and visual association regions selective to processing the perceptual inputs of the stimuli to be remembered. Hum Brain Mapp , 2013. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)762-774
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

Keywords

  • Event-related fMRI
  • Motivation
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Top-down processing
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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