Cortical oscillatory changes associated with cognitive effort, value of effort, and incentive

Adam Byrne
2021
Cognitive effort is conceptualised as being deployed relative to the SV of its associated outcomes. The SV of incentives should therefore directly modulate effortful performance, as well as cortical processes associated with effortful engagement. However, the relationship between incentive value and modality, and effortful engagement remains unclear. The current thesis aimed to elaborate on the deployment of cognitive effort in response to incentives of differing magnitude and valence using
more » ... aratory ERD/ERS measures in tandem with discounting procedures. ERD/ERS in the alpha and beta bands was used to untangle cortical activation from inhibition during effortful engagement, as well as separating anticipatory attention from approach/avoidance motor responses under rewards of differing magnitudes and valence. Further, a COGED discounting task was used to estimate effort discounting rates, and to compare the SV of gains and losses. The results presented in the three experimental chapters showed that rewards lead to different modulations in pre-movement ERD/ERS depending on the task-structure used. Losses were more motivating than gains, but were associated with slower RTs, as well as deteriorations in alpha-band ERD. Further, individual SVs of effort were not significantly associated with changes in RT or ERD under differing incentives. The current thesis showed that cognitive effort is deployed through patterns of strategic cortical activation and inhibition, rather than a sustained increase in cortical activation. Further, the divergent effect of losses and gains was revealed to likely be due to attentional effects not the previously hypothesised approach/avoidance associations. Finally, the SV of effort does not appear to directly inform effortful engagement.
doi:10.17638/03130490 fatcat:k5uubif4nrc5vfewgyao3gj24u