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Cognition and Actions Lab - Université Catholique Louvain - Neurosciences - Welcome
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CoActions Lab

Cognition and Actions Lab

Primary motor cortex and value-based decisions

Derosiere et al., Neuroimage 2016
Zénon et al., Brain stimulation 2015
In these recent experiments, we used repetitive TMS (continuous theta burst stimulation) to disrupt activity in the primary motor cortex (M1) while participants performed a value-based choice reaction time task. The data provide evidence for a distinct contribution of M1 to value-based reinforcement learning and value-based motor decision making.

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Double-Coil TMS may be used to assess CS excitability bilaterally

Wilhelm et al., Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 2016
Many studies have investigated corticospinal (CS) excitability changes associated with various aspects of action preparation. To date, these studies have used a "Single-Coil" Method whereby motor-evoked potential (MEP) are elicited in a single hand muscle following TMS over the contralateral primary motor cortex (M1). In the future, it would be really convenient to obtain measures of CS excitability in both hands by using a “Double-Coil” Method with TMS applied over both M1 at the same time. The first tests are encouraging but further experiments are required to determine the best parameters to be used when applying this new method.

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Value of reward and cost of effort in the STN

Zénon et al., Brain 2016
The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is a region of the basal ganglia which is centrally involved in the pathophysiology of Parkinson disease and which is thought to be important for adjusting behaviour during conflict situations. In this study, we show that the neural activity recorded in the subthalamic nucleus of implanted Parkinson patients signals the subjective value of effortful tasks rather than decision conflict. This points to the possible role of this region in controlling motivation and task engagement.

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Dopamine, response vigor and opportunity cost

Zénon et al. The Journal of Neuroscience (in press)
Tonic dopamine has been proposed to signal the average value of all the actions that one could perform at any given time. This value of time could then be used to estimate the opportunity cost of a decision. If true, dopamine should affect response vigor only in situations in which it impacts on action duration. However, we found the opposite, suggesting that instead of signalling opportunity cost, dopamine influences the ratio between the effort cost linked to action execution, and its expected value.

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News and Events

Rapid prediction of biomechanical costs during action decisions Rapid prediction of biomechanical costs during action decisions Saturday, 02 August 2014 When given a choice between actions that yield the same reward, we tend to prefer...
Dissociating loss of resources from loss of motivation during mental fatigue Dissociating loss of resources from loss of motivation during mental fatigue Wednesday, 30 July 2014 Few studies have looked at the relation between mental fatigue (MF) and motivation....
Implicit learning: a stimulus-response framework Implicit learning: a stimulus-response framework Wednesday, 30 July 2014 Several aspects of implicit learning have already been explored since Reber first...

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