Reward effects on cognitive functions have recently inspired a lot of research, not least because they offer a controllable window into neurocognitive effects of motivation in general, which is disturbed in a wide range of prominent brain-related disorders. Importantly, different traditions exist wherein reward effects on sensory and attentional processing are often ascribed to an automatic process that circumvents active top-down control processes based on gradually enhancing the salience of reward-related sensory features. In contrast, reward effects on cognitive
control processes are usually conceived of as effortful control operations, often in the form of enhanced preparation for an upcoming task (pro-actively); yet, such processes can likely also be engaged on the spot when needed (re-actively). The key aim of the present proposal is to investigate the relationship between these automatic and control-related processes. The planned studies will use classical control tasks, like the Stroop and the Stop-signal task, systematically varying how reward is associated to the task. The latter will furthermore allow to separately associate reward to the execution versus the inhibition of motor responses, which have been suggested to be
differentially susceptible to reward influences. Together, the proposed studies will substantially advance our understanding of neurocognitive reward effects, hence contributing to basic science and to applied and clinical psychological work alike.