• Thursday, January 18th 2018 at 16:00 - 17:00 UTC (Other timezones)
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Motivation deficits such as apathy are pervasive in both neurological and psychiatric diseases. They are currently assessed with psychometric scales that do not give any mechanistic insight susceptible to guide therapeutic intervention. Another approach has emerged lately that consists in phenotyping the behavior of patients in motivation tests, using computational models. Motivation can be defined as the function that orients and activates the behavior according to two attributes: a content (the goal) and a quantity (the goal value). Decision theory offers a way to quantify motivation, as the cost that patients would accept to endure in order to get the benefit of achieving their goal.

In recent studies, cost has been typically measured as the amount of effort that patients would exert to obtain a particular reward. The trade-off between effort and reward was found to involve specific cortical, subcortical and neuromodulatory systems. Ideally, there would be a one-to-one mapping between specific neural components and distinct computational variables of the decision model. Thus, fitting computational models to patients’ behavior would allow inferring the dysfunctional mechanism in both cognitive terms (e.g., hyposensitivity to reward) and neural terms (e.g., lack of dopamine).

In this talk, I will present pharmacological and patient studies that provide proofs of concepts for such computational approach of motivation disorders. I will start with the case of dopamine and sensitivity to reward, and then establish further links between computational variables and the brain systems that are targets of diseases and treatments.

Mathias Pessiglione, PhD

Principal investigator (Insert Researcher Director) at the Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière (ICM)
Scientific Head of the Prism platform for the exploration of human behavior.
Motivation, Brain & Behavior (MBB) lab
Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle (ICM)
Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière
Paris, France

Mathias Pessiglione – Why not try harder? A computational approach to motivation deficits

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