Don’t we all just wish we were motivated 24/7 and did not have anything holding us back from performing our best? Luckily, there has been a study that focuses on figuring out how to increase motivation.
Our motivation is described as a feeling to put effort into achieving a goal, and this process is regulated by a reward system rooted in our brains. Recently, scientists in Japan have experimented on the reward system using a sample of monkeys to analyse their behavior. During their research, they discovered many missing factors of the reward system that can help in further increasing motivation.
What is a reward system?
Have you ever wondered why we do anything? What pushes us to do them, complete them and achieve our goals? What exactly is the drive that allows us to look for food, shelter, and clothes?
It’s a reward system described as an evolutionary mechanism in our brain that controls our willingness to either work or performing a risky task by looking at the cost of effort and reward in place. It is also important to highlight the lack of motivation in people suffering from depression or various diseases as their reward system is impaired.
How did the researchers conduct the study?
Dr. Yukiko Hori of the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology in Japan with a few colleagues carried out a study centered on dopamine (DA)–the “neurotransmitter” or the signaling molecule that performs the fundamental role in influencing motivation and regulation of behavior based on cost-benefit analysis.
The research team first trained the monkeys to perform “reward size” tasks including “work and delay tasks.” These tasks enabled them to estimate how the factor of reward size and necessary effort influenced the behavior of the animals.
They used positron emission tomography-based imaging of the brains of the animals to measure the extent of bindings or blockades of the receptors. Next, under experimental conditions, researchers proposed the monkeys an opportunity to perform tasks to obtain rewards and observed whether the monkeys accepted or refused to perform the tasks and how fast they responded to the signs linked to the tasks.
The researchers noticed that the monkeys made decisions centered on the perceived benefit and cost which required the involvement of both two receptors of dopamine, which required putting rewards for the motivation and preferring small immediate rewards than delayed larger ones.
The study found that two receptors D1R and D2R transfer dopamine relating to motivation and regulate the cost-based motivational process by the availability of rewards and costs associated with the tasks. However, D2R solely manipulated workload discounting which is the process of determining the worth of the rewards based on the proportion of the effort required by it.
These research findings bring the hope for future as by learning the inbuilt reward system we can perform manipulation to help improving our motivation levels and simultaneously improving many lives.
This article is attributed to Science Daily