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Stimulus Novelty Energizes Actions in the Absence of Explicit Reward

Koster, R; Seow, TX; Dolan, RJ; Duezel, E; (2016) Stimulus Novelty Energizes Actions in the Absence of Explicit Reward. PLOS ONE , 11 (7) 10.1371/journal.pone.0159120. Green open access

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Abstract

Novelty seeking has been tied to impulsive choice and biased value based choice. It has been postulated that novel stimuli should trigger more vigorous approach and exploration. However, it is unclear whether stimulus novelty can enhance simple motor actions in the absence of explicit reward, a necessary condition for energizing approach and exploration in an entirely unfamiliar situation. In this study human subjects were cued to omit or perform actions in form of button presses by novel or familiar images. We found that subjects’ motor actions were faster when cued by a novel compared to a familiar image. This facilitation by novelty was strongest when the delay between cue and action was short, consistent with a link between novelty and impulsive choices. The facilitation of reaction times by novelty was correlated across subjects with trait novelty seeking as measured in the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire. However, this li between high novelty-seeking and action facilitation was driven by trials with a long delay between cue and action. This prolonged time window of energization following novelty could hint at a mechanistic underpinning of enhanced vigour for approach and exploration frequently postulated for novelty seeking humans. In conclusion, we show that stimulus novelty enhances the speed of a cued motor action. We suggest this is likely to reflect an adaptation to changing environments but may also provide a source of maladaptive choice and impulsive behaviour.

Type: Article
Title: Stimulus Novelty Energizes Actions in the Absence of Explicit Reward
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159120
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0159120
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 Koster et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Multidisciplinary Sciences, Science & Technology - Other Topics, COGNITIVE CONTROL, DECISION-MAKING, RISK-TAKING, DOPAMINE, HIPPOCAMPAL, EXPLORATION, PERSONALITY, CURIOSITY, BEHAVIOR, MEMORY
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
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 > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1514029
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