Chronic motivational state interacts with task reward structure in dynamic decision-making Academic Article uri icon


  • Research distinguishes between a habitual, model-free system motivated toward immediately rewarding actions, and a goal-directed, model-based system motivated toward actions that improve future state. We examined the balance of processing in these two systems during state-based decision-making. We tested a regulatory fit hypothesis (Maddox & Markman, 2010) that predicts that global trait motivation affects the balance of habitual- vs. goal-directed processing but only through its interaction with the task framing as gain-maximization or loss-minimization. We found support for the hypothesis that a match between an individual's chronic motivational state and the task framing enhances goal-directed processing, and thus state-based decision-making. Specifically, chronic promotion-focused individuals under gain-maximization and chronic prevention-focused individuals under loss-minimization both showed enhanced state-based decision-making. Computational modeling indicates that individuals in a match between global chronic motivational state and local task reward structure engaged more goal-directed processing, whereas those in a mismatch engaged more habitual processing.

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Cooper, J. A., Worthy, D. A., & Maddox, W. T.

citation count

  • 4

publication date

  • December 2015