Money as a Subliminal Motivator

Okay, I’m suffering a little grant review burnout here. Plus, a very quiet week at the NIH. Back to business on the blog shortly. Found this fascinating report published today in Science by Pessiglione et al. using functional MRI to “visualize unconscious motivational processes.” Abstract below …

“Unconscious motivation in humans is often inferred but rarely demonstrated empirically. We imaged motivational processes, implemented in a paradigm that varied the amount and reportability of monetary rewards for which subjects exerted physical effort. We show that, even when subjects cannot report how much money is at stake, they nevertheless deploy more force for higher amounts. Such a motivational effect is underpinned by engagement of a specific basal forebrain region. Our findings thus reveal this region as a key node in brain circuitry that enables expected rewards to energize behavior, without the need for the subjects`awareness. “



  1. drugmonkey said

    aha. so despite our conscious avowal to behave professionally and objectively in the grant and paper review process we are inevitably going to act in ways that we subconsciously believe will benefit ourselves…

    And hence the need to remove pharmaceutical industry influence from academic medical centers … see above. writedit

  2. […] Not sure if the FASEB toolkit and proposals for Conflict Vitae can solve these issues, especially as research teases out how COI may play out in the brain. […]

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