Learning and motivation are intrinsically related, and both have been linked to dopamine. Parkinson's disease results from a progressive loss of dopaminergic inputs to the striatum and leads to impairments in motivation and learning from feedback. However, the link between motivation and learning in Parkinson's disease is not well understood. To address this gap, we leverage a well-established psychological theory of motivation, regulatory mode theory, which distinguishes between two functionally independent motivational concerns in regulating behavior: a concern with having an effect by initiating and maintaining movement (Locomotion) and a concern with establishing what is correct by critically evaluating goal pursuit means and outcomes (Assessment). We examined Locomotion and Assessment in patients with Parkinson's disease and age-matched controls. Parkinson's disease patients demonstrated a selective decrease in Assessment motivation but no change in Locomotion motivation, suggesting that Parkinson's disease leads to a reduced tendency to evaluate and monitor outcomes. Moreover, weaker Assessment motivation was correlated with poorer performance on a feedback-based learning task previously shown to depend on the striatum. Together, these findings link a questionnaire-based personality inventory with performance on a well-characterized experimental task, advancing our understanding of how Parkinson's disease affects motivation with implications for well-being and treatment outcomes.
Foerde, K., E. Braun, E. Tory Higgins, and D. Shohamy. "Motivational modes and learning in Parkinson's disease." Social cognitive and affective neuroscience 10, no. 8 (August 2015): 1066-1073.
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