Movement Vigor as a Reflection of Subjective Economic Utility

Trends Neurosci. 2019 May;42(5):323-336. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2019.02.003. Epub 2019 Mar 13.


To understand subjective evaluation of an option, various disciplines have quantified the interaction between reward and effort during decision making, producing an estimate of economic utility, namely the subjective 'goodness' of an option. However, variables that affect utility of an option also influence the vigor of movements toward that option. For example, expectation of reward increases speed of saccadic eye movements, whereas expectation of effort decreases this speed. These results imply that vigor may serve as a new, real-time metric with which to quantify subjective utility, and that the control of movements may be an implicit reflection of the brain's economic evaluation of the expected outcome.

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; aging; basal ganglia; effort; motor control; movement speed; reaction time; reward; vigor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Reward*
  • Saccades / physiology*