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Different underlying mechanisms for high and low arousal in probabilistic learning in humans

Ciria, LF; Suarez Pinilla, M; Williams, AG; Jagannathan, SR; Sanabria, D; Bekinschtein, TA; (2021) Different underlying mechanisms for high and low arousal in probabilistic learning in humans. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Green open access

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Abstract

Humans are uniquely capable of adapting to highly changing environments by updating relevant information and adjusting ongoing behaviour accordingly. Here we show how this ability —termed cognitive flexibility— is differentially modulated by high and low arousal fluctuations. We implemented a probabilistic reversal learning paradigm in healthy participants as they transitioned towards sleep or physical extenuation. The results revealed, in line with our pre-registered hypotheses, that low arousal leads to diminished behavioural performance through increased decision volatility, while performance decline under high arousal was attributed to increased perseverative behaviour. These findings provide evidence for distinct patterns of maladaptive decision-making on each side of the arousal inverted u-shaped curve, differentially affecting participants’ ability to generate stable evidence-based strategies, and introduces wake-sleep and physical exercise transitions as complementary experimental models for investigating neural and cognitive dynamics.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Different underlying mechanisms for high and low arousal in probabilistic learning in humans
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.26.431959
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.02.26.431959
Language: English
Additional information: The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Keywords: cognition, levels of consciousness, levels of alertness, probabilistic reversal learning
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Neurodegenerative Diseases
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10131630
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