Neural oscillatory mechanisms of adapting motivational biases to aid action selection

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The valence of anticipated outcomes exerts control over behavior, associating the prospect of reward with approach and the prospect of punishment with inhibition. Traditionally, literature focuses on how to overcome these so-called motivational biases in conflict situations, while this study investigates potential benefits by exploring whether action plans influence what you attend to, and whether what you attend to influences ultimate action execution. In two separate studies, we used eye-tracking (N=35) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) recordings (N=13) with a Go/NoGo learning task, in which a delay between cue presentation and action execution enabled us to closely examine the relationship between spatial attention to valence-related information and action preparation. Results from the eye-tracking study show that subjects seek out information based on their action goals. In turn, subjects’ choice behavior was influenced by the information they attended. These results show that the causal relationship between action preparation and spatial attention changes over time. It is important to consider the temporal-dependency of the direction of this relationship. However, no clear interaction between occipital alpha oscillations (as a neural index for spatial attention) and sensorimotor beta oscillations (as a neural index for action preparation/execution) was established. Future research should focus on establishing a clearer view of the relationship between the neural underpinnings of attention and action and aim to identify helpful situations to harness benefits of motivational biases.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen