Evaluating the Influence of Musical and Monetary Rewards on Decision Making through Computational Modelling

Kopytin, Grigory; Ivanova, Marina; Herrojo Ruiz, Maria and Shestakova, Anna. 2024. Evaluating the Influence of Musical and Monetary Rewards on Decision Making through Computational Modelling. Behavioral Sciences, 14(2), 124. ISSN 2076-328X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

A central question in behavioural neuroscience is how different rewards modulate learning. While the role of monetary rewards is well-studied in decision-making research, the influence of abstract rewards like music remains poorly understood. This study investigated the dissociable effects of these two reward types on decision making. Forty participants completed two decision-making tasks, each characterised by probabilistic associations between stimuli and rewards, with probabilities changing over time to reflect environmental volatility. In each task, choices were reinforced either by monetary outcomes (win/lose) or by the endings of musical melodies (consonant/dissonant). We applied the Hierarchical Gaussian Filter, a validated hierarchical Bayesian framework, to model learning under these two conditions. Bayesian statistics provided evidence for similar learning patterns across both reward types, suggesting individuals’ similar adaptability. However, within the musical task, individual preferences for consonance over dissonance explained some aspects of learning. Specifically, correlation analyses indicated that participants more tolerant of dissonance behaved more stochastically in their belief-to-response mappings and were less likely to choose the response associated with the current prediction for a consonant ending, driven by higher volatility estimates. By contrast, participants averse to dissonance showed increased tonic volatility, leading to larger updates in reward tendency beliefs.

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Additional Information:

Funding: This study was supported by the RSF, project 22-18-00660.

Data Access Statement:

The data presented in this study are available on request from the corresponding author.


Hierarchical Gaussian Filter; reward-based learning; monetary reward; musical reward; abstract reward; probabilistic learning; decision-making behaviour

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14 December 2023Submitted
2 February 2024Accepted
8 February 2024Published

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Date Deposited:

30 Apr 2024 15:03

Last Modified:

30 Apr 2024 15:03

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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