Modulation of Motor Vigor by Expectation of Reward Probability Trial-by-Trial Is Preserved in Healthy Ageing and Parkinson's Disease Patients

Tecilla, Margherita; Michael, Grossbach; Gentile, Giovanni; Holland, Peter; Antonini, Angelo and Herrojo Ruiz, Maria. 2023. Modulation of Motor Vigor by Expectation of Reward Probability Trial-by-Trial Is Preserved in Healthy Ageing and Parkinson's Disease Patients. The Journal of Neuroscience, 43(10), pp. 1757-1777. ISSN 1529-2401 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Motor improvements, such as faster movement times or increased velocity, have been associated with reward magnitude in deterministic contexts. Yet whether individual inferences on reward probability influence motor vigour dynamically remains undetermined.

We investigated how dynamically inferring volatile action-reward contingencies modulated motor performance trial-by-trial. We conducted three studies that coupled a one-armed bandit decision-making paradigm with a motor sequence task and used a validated hierarchical Bayesian model to fit trial-by-trial data. In Study 1, we tested healthy younger (HYA, 37 [13 males]) and older adults (HOA, 37 [20 males]), and medicated Parkinson’s Disease patients (PD, 20 [13 males]). We showed that stronger predictions about the tendency of the action-reward contingency led to faster performance tempo—commensurate with movement time—on a trial-by-trial basis without robustly modulating reaction time (RT). Using Bayesian linear mixed models, we demonstrated a similar invigoration effect on performance tempo in HYA, HOA and PD, despite HOA and PD being slower than HYA. In Study 2 (HYA, 39 [10 males]), we additionally showed that retrospective subjective inference about credit assignment did not contribute to differences in motor vigour effects. Last, Study 3 (HYA, 33 [6 males]) revealed that explicit beliefs about the reward tendency (confidence ratings) modulated performance tempo trial-by-trial.

Our study is the first to reveal that the dynamic updating of beliefs about volatile action-reward contingencies positively biases motor performance through faster tempo. We also provide robust evidence for a preserved sensitivity of motor vigour to inferences about the action-reward mapping in ageing and medicated PD.

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Data Access Statement:

Data and code availability: The data that support the main findings of these studies are available from the Open Science Framework Data Repository under the accession code 7kfbj: Code for the main brms and HGF analyses has also been deposited in


Parkinson's, motor vigour, reward, ageing

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1 September 2022Submitted
31 December 2022Accepted
8 March 2023Published

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Date Deposited:

12 Jan 2023 09:30

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 03:21

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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