Curiosity is one of our most fundamental biological drives and it is important for many things we do in our everyday life. Imagine for example that you hear your phone beep in your pocket. Probably, you will feel the urge to check the message right away, even though the message itself likely doesn’t give you a direct reward.
In dit onderzoek bestudeerden we hoe motivatie ons gedrag aanstuurt zonder dat we dat altijd in de gaten hebben. We zijn namelijk geneigd om actie te ondernemen wanneer we belonende/positieve uitkomsten verwachten, terwijl we juist sterk geneigd zijn om ons in te houden wanneer we vervelende/negatieve uitkomsten verwachten en deze willen vermijden. Meestal helpen deze automatische neigingen ons met het maken van goede keuzes. Maar ons gedrag is niet volledig automatisch; we kunnen ook onze eerdere ervaringen gebruiken om van te leren. Zouden we dan ook verschillend leren van positieve en negatieve uitkomsten?
Pathological gamblers have a stronger brain reaction to so-called near-miss events: losing events that come very close to a win. Neuroscientists of the Donders Institute at Radboud University show this in fMRI scans of twenty-two pathological gamblers and just as many healthy controls. The scientific journal Neuropsychopharmacology published their results last week.
Patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be quite impulsive, restless and easily distracted. In short, they often have difficulty controlling their behavior. Diminished behavioural control can result in problems at work or in someone’s social life. Although patients with ADHD often find it hard to focus at work, some can spend hours playing computer games without facing distraction. In other words, patients with ADHD appear able to control their behavior much better when they are doing something enjoyable or rewarding rather than boring.
Managers often get exorbitant bonuses if they do well for the company. But does a promised bonus actually help people to perform better? We now know from our research described in Psychological Science that not everyone's performance will increase when a reward is anticipated.
Recently I went to the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, in San Diego, California. This meeting, which takes place once a year, is a great opportunity for neuroscientists all around the world to exchange their ideas and share the progress of their research. Try the picture the scene: 30 000 researchers from more than 70 countries, all gathering in a 50 000 m² convention center for 5 days, and giving more than 16 000 scientific presentations. It was my first time there, and the word that best describes it is overwhelming!!