Mathias Pessiglione

7 février 2014 - 7 février 2014

séminaire tutoré

ICM, Paris

How the brain motivates the behavior : from the reward circuit to the valuation system

invité par Sabrina Ravel


Abstract : During the last decade, behavioral economists, experimental psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists have joined their efforts and merged two fields of investigation : reward learning and choice behavior. This collaboration was made possible by technical progress – the availability of brain imaging scanners, and conceptual links – the use of motivational value as a key variable. A growing set of evidence has revealed that motivational values are encoded in a so-called "brain valuation system" (BVS), which essentially comprises the ventral parts of the prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia.

In my talk I will first highlight BVS fundamental properties : it encodes values that are personal (subject- and not object-specific), generic (expressed in a common neuronal currency) and automatic (generated even during distractive tasks). Then I will show some illustrations of how the BVS interacts with other brain systems (such as the perceptual, motor, cognitive, episodic and mirror systems) that can impact on, or be impacted by, motivational values. These neural interactions might explain a number of psychological phenomena, for instance incentive motivation (why we put so much effort in a task), delay discounting (why we can resist the temptation of immediate pleasures) or mimetic desires (why we often pursue the same goals as others).

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