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How the Brain Converts Negative Evaluation into Performance Facilitation

Prévost, Charlotte and Lau, Hakwan and Mobbs, Dean (2018) How the Brain Converts Negative Evaluation into Performance Facilitation. Cerebral Cortex, 28 (2). pp. 602-611. ISSN 1047–3211. PMCID PMC6676962. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhw400.

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Surpassing negative evaluation is a recurrent theme of success stories. Yet, there is little evidence supporting the counterintuitive idea that negative evaluation might not only motivate people, but also enhance performance. To address this question, we designed a task that required participants to decide whether taking up a risky challenge after receiving positive or negative evaluations from independent judges. Participants believed that these evaluations were based on their prior performance on a related task. Results showed that negative evaluation caused a facilitation in performance. Concurrent functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed that the motivating effect of negative evaluation was represented in the insula and striatum, while the performance boost was associated with functional positive connectivity between the insula and a set of brain regions involved in goal-directed behavior and the orienting of attention. These findings provide new insight into the neural representation of negative evaluation-induced facilitation.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Mobbs, Dean0000-0003-1175-3772
Additional Information:© 2017 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press. Received: 17 October 2014; Revision Received: 05 October 2016; Published: 05 January 2017. This work was supported by a start-up grant to Dean Mobbs. We thank Nambirajan Srinivasan for assistance in recruiting and running participants. The authors declare no competing financial interests. This paper is dedicated to the memory of our dear friend Dr Charlotte Prevost who passed away after a courageous battle with a terrible illness in March of 2016. Conflict of Interest: None declared.
Subject Keywords:Decision-making, neuroimaging, performance, psychological reactance
Issue or Number:2
PubMed Central ID:PMC6676962
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170117-095342295
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Official Citation:Charlotte Prévost, Hakwan Lau, Dean Mobbs; How the Brain Converts Negative Evaluation into Performance Facilitation, Cerebral Cortex, Volume 28, Issue 2, 1 February 2018, Pages 602–611,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:73518
Deposited By: Melissa Ray
Deposited On:19 Jan 2017 23:30
Last Modified:06 Apr 2022 19:31

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