Explore or reset? Pupil diameter transiently increases in self-chosen switches between cognitive labor and leisure in either direction
Number of pages
SourceCognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 19, 5, (2019), pp. 1113-1128
Article / Letter to editor
Display more detailsDisplay less details
SW OZ DCC SMN
SW OZ BSI AO
SW OZ BSI SCP
Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience
SubjectAction, intention, and motor control; Behaviour Change and Well-being; Work, Health and Performance
When people invest effort in cognitive work, they often keep an eye open for rewarding alternative activities. Previous research suggests that the norepinephrine (NE) system regulates such trade-offs between exploitation (of the current task) and exploration (of alternative possibilities). Here we examine the possibility that the NE-system is involved in a related trade-off, i.e., the trade-off between cognitive labor and leisure. We conducted two pre-registered studies (total N = 62) in which participants freely chose to perform either a paid 2-back task (labor) vs. a fun non-paid task (leisure), while we tracked their pupil diameter--which is an indicator of the state of the NE system. In both studies, consistent with prior work, we found (a) increases in pupil baseline and (b) decreases in pupil dilation when participants switched from labor to leisure. Unexpectedly, we found the same pattern when participants switched from leisure back to labor. Furthermore, exploratory analyses showed that participants with a stronger action orientation in everyday life showed stronger decreases in pupil dilation in switches towards labor, but weaker decreases in switches towards leisure. Collectively, these results are more consistent with Network Reset Theory, which suggests that NE plays a role in reorienting attention, than with Adaptive Gain Theory, which suggests that NE plays a role in motivation.
Upload full text
Use your RU credentials (u/z-number and password) to log in with SURFconext to upload a file for processing by the repository team.