Neuroscientists have provided clear visual evidence that a region of the human brain known as the ventral striatum kicks in during decision-making to weigh the costs versus the benefits of making a physical effort.
Nature Human Behavior published the research by scientists at Emory University. It gives the first detailed view of ventral striatum activity during three phases of effort-based decision-making — the anticipation of initiating an effort, the actual execution of the effort and the reward, or outcome, of the effort.
“It’s important to understand the neural mechanisms underlying motivation,” says Shosuke Suzuki, first author of the study and an Emory graduate student of psychology. “Our work has wide implications for treatment of disorders related to reduced motivation, such as depression, schizophrenia and PTSD. It may also help enhance motivational programs for everything from education to athletics and public health.”