The Urge to Decide and Act: Implications for Brain Function and Dysfunction

The Neuroscientist : a Review Journal Bringing Neurobiology, Neurology and Psychiatry
Matthew A CarlandPaul Cisek

Abstract

Humans and other animals are motivated to act so as to maximize their subjective reward rate. Here, we propose that reward rate maximization is accomplished by adjusting a context-dependent "urgency signal," which influences both the commitment to a developing action choice and the vigor with which the ensuing action is performed. We review behavioral and neurophysiological data suggesting that urgency is controlled by projections from the basal ganglia to cerebral cortical regions, influencing neural activity related to decision making as well as activity related to action execution. We also review evidence suggesting that different individuals possess specific policies for adjusting their urgency signal to particular contextual variables, such that urgency constitutes an individual trait which jointly influences a wide range of behavioral measures commonly related to the overall quality and hastiness of one's decisions and actions. Consequently, we argue that a central mechanism for reward rate maximization provides a potential link between personality traits such as impulsivity, as well as some of the motivation-related symptomology of clinical disorders such as depression and Parkinson's disease.

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Feb 13, 2020·Journal of Neurophysiology·Julien MichalskiPaul Cisek
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Related Concepts

Metazoa
Basal Ganglia
Allocortex
Approach Behavior
Homo sapiens
Models, Neurological
Expectation
Neural Interconnections
Neurons
Rewards

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