Integrated control of non-motor and motor efforts during perceptual decision-making and action execution: a pilot study

Sci Rep. 2023 Jun 8;13(1):9354. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-36443-3.


Humans daily life is characterized by a succession of voluntary actions. Since energy resources are limited, the ability to invest the appropriate amount of effort for selecting and executing these actions is a hallmark of adapted behavior. Recent studies indicate that decisions and actions share important principles, including the optimization of their duration when the context requires it. In the present pilot study, we test the hypothesis that the management of effort-related energy resources is shared between decision and action too. Healthy human subjects performed a perceptual decision task where they had to choose between two levels of effort to invest in making the decision (i.e. two levels of perceptual difficulty), and report it with a reaching movement. Crucially, the movement accuracy requirement gradually increased from trial to trial depending on participants' decision performance. Results indicate an overall moderate and non-significant impact of the increasing motor difficulty on the choice of the non-motor (decision) effort to invest in each trial and on decision performance. By contrast, motor performance strongly decreased depending on both the motor and decisional difficulties. Together, the results support the hypothesis of an integrated management of the effort-related energy resources between decision and action. They also suggest that in the present task, the mutualized resources are primarily allocated to the decision-making process to the detriment of movements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Movement*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychomotor Performance