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Hedonic value of intentional action provides reinforcement for voluntary generation but not voluntary inhibition of action.

Parkinson, J; Haggard, P; (2013) Hedonic value of intentional action provides reinforcement for voluntary generation but not voluntary inhibition of action. Conscious Cogn , 22 (4) 1253 - 1261. 10.1016/j.concog.2013.08.009. Green open access

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Abstract

Intentional inhibition refers to stopping oneself from performing an action at the last moment, a vital component of self-control. It has been suggested that intentional inhibition is associated with negative hedonic value, perhaps due to the frustration of cancelling an intended action. Here we investigate hedonic implications of the free choice to act or inhibit. Participants gave aesthetic ratings of arbitrary visual stimuli that immediately followed voluntary decisions to act or to inhibit action. We found that participants for whom decisions to act produced a strong positive hedonic value for the immediately following visual stimulus made more choices to act than those with weaker hedonic value for action. This finding is consistent with reinforcement learning of action decisions. However, participants who experienced inhibition as generating more positive hedonic value did not choose to inhibit more than other participants. Thus, voluntary inhibition of action did not act as reinforcement for future inhibitory behaviour. Our finding that inhibition of action lacks motivational capacity may explain why self-control is both difficult and limited.

Type: Article
Title: Hedonic value of intentional action provides reinforcement for voluntary generation but not voluntary inhibition of action.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.concog.2013.08.009
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2013.08.009
Additional information: �© 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Keywords: Action, Decision making, Free will, Hedonic value, Inhibition, Intention, Reinforcement, Reward, Volition
UCL classification: 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 > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1424997
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