From (epi)genetics to cognition

Chair(s): Johannes Rodrigues (Würzburg)

Presenter(s): Martin Weiß (Würzburg), Christopher Stolz (Marburg), Johannes Rodrigues (Würzburg), Corinna Kührt (Dresden), Florian Bolenz (Berlin)

Reward and punishment processing have tremendous impact on our behavior and decisions. Yet, contexts and cognitive control may alter their impact on behavior. In this symposium, we bring together studies investigating cognitive control and the impact of reward and punishment processing on behavioral and electrocortical outcomes in different contexts.

The first study investigated electrocortical responses of the receiver in an ultimatum game to social cues of successful, costly punishment. The fairness of the offer was considered as well as the reward of getting an adequate social reaction to costly punishment. Further exploring the interrelation of reward and punishment, the second study used two three-armed bandit tasks to investigate feedback-locked frontal midline theta power in reward gain versus punishment avoidance learning. Additionally, personality traits were considered. Adding the context of a second chance, the third study focused on the impact of a second stage as a receiver and relevant personality traits in the ultimatum game on behavior, fairness related reward processing (FRN) and cognitive control related EEG-signals (midfrontal theta). Centralizing cognitive control, the fourth study investigated the influence of cognitive effort investment in a flanker task with varying demands and payoffs. Behavioral reactions as well as midfrontal theta band activations revealed interactions of cognitive effort investment with reward and demand. Focusing on the meta-cognition of control, the fifth study investigated the impact of need for cognition on metacontrol (switching to accurate but cognitively effortful strategies), in a sequential decision-making task. A computational reinforcement-learning model was used to explore this relation.