New Publication on Neural Correlates of Effort Regulation

New paper on the effect of implementation intentions on cerebral hemodynamics, ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) and endurance performance published in Scientific Reports.

In this paper, Wanja Wolff (Chair of Sport Psychology), Maik Bieleke, Anna Hirsch, Peter M. Gollwitzer, Christian Wienbruch (Chair of Clinical Psychology) and Julia Schüler (Chair of Sport Psychology) investigated the effectiveness of the widely used self-regulation strategy of if-then planning (i.e., implementation intentions) in down-regulating cortical activity in brain areas that are relevant for effortful self-regulation.

During a strenuous static muscular endurance task that was performed until exhaustion, they observed an increase in brain activity in the dorsal and ventral parts of the lateral prefrontal cortex. This increase corresponds with increases in RPE, indicating an increased need for effortful self-regulation, in order to continue with the endurance task. Interestingly, while they did not observe differences between implementation intention and control participants regarding endurance performance and RPE, participants who had formed implementation intentions had lower activations in the dorsal and ventral parts of the lateral prefrontal cortex. This indicates that, compared to the control group, they had to rely less on effortful self-regulation during the endurance task.

If you want to learn more about our research on the self-regulation of effort during endurance performance, please contact maik.bieleke [at] uni-konstanz.de (Maik Bieleke).