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The Effect of Task Demand and Incentive on Neurophysiological and Cardiovascular Markers of Effort

Fairclough, SH and Ewing, K (2017) The Effect of Task Demand and Incentive on Neurophysiological and Cardiovascular Markers of Effort. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 119. pp. 58-66. ISSN 0167-8760

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According to motivational intensity theory, effort is proportional to the level of task demand provided that success is possible and successful performance is deemed worthwhile. The current study represents a simultaneous manipulation of demand (working memory load) and success importance (financial incentive) to investigate neurophysiological (EEG) and cardiovascular measures of effort. A 2 x 2 repeated-measures study was conducted where 18 participants performed a n-back task under three conditions of demand: easy (1-back), hard (4-back) and very hard (7-back). In addition, participants performed these tasks in the presence of performance-contingent financial incentive or in a no-incentive (pilot trial) condition. Three bands of EEG activity were quantified: theta (4-7Hz), lower-alpha (7.5-10Hz) and upper-alpha (10.5-13Hz). Fronto-medial activity in the theta band and activity in the upper-alpha band at frontal, central and parietal sites were sensitive to demand and indicated greatest effort when the task was challenging and success was possible. Mean systolic blood pressure and activity in the lower-alpha band at parietal sites were also sensitive to demand but also increased in the incentive condition across all levels of task demand. The results of the study largely support the predictions of motivational intensity using neurophysiological markers of effort.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 11 Medical And Health Sciences, 17 Psychology And Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2017 08:52
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 11:11
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2017.01.007
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7188

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