Reward and novelty enhance imagination of future events in a motivational-episodic network
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Open Access - Publikationsfonds
Department of Psychology
Kurzfassung auf Englisch:
Thinking about personal future events is a fundamental cognitive process that helps us make choices in daily life. We investigated how the imagination of episodic future events is influenced by implicit motivational factors known to guide decision making. In a two-day functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we controlled learned reward association and stimulus novelty by pre-familiarizing participants with two sets of words in a reward learning task. Words were repeatedly presented and consistently followed by monetary reward or no monetary outcome. One day later, participants imagined personal future events based on previously rewarded, unrewarded and novel words. Reward association enhanced the perceived vividness of the imagined scenes. Reward and novelty-based construction of future events were associated with higher activation of the motivational system (striatum and substantia nigra/ ventral tegmental area) and hippocampus, and functional connectivity between these areas increased during imagination of events based on reward-associated and novel words. These data indicate that implicit past motivational experience contributes to our expectation of what the future holds in store.
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