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Regular Exercise Enhances Task-Based Industriousness in Laboratory Rats.

Laurence NC, Labuschagne LG, Lura BG, Hillman KL - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Individuals vary greatly in their willingness to select and persist in effortful tasks, even when high-effort will knowingly result in high-reward.These increases in performance led to quicker reward obtainment and greater reward gain over time, and could not be accounted for simply by increased locomotor activity.Our results suggest that a basic exercise regimen can enhance effortful goal-directed behaviour in goal-directed tasks, which highlights a potential productivity benefit of staying physically active.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

ABSTRACT
Individuals vary greatly in their willingness to select and persist in effortful tasks, even when high-effort will knowingly result in high-reward. Individuals who select and successively complete effortful, goal-directed tasks can be described as industrious. Trying to increase one's industriousness is desirable from a productivity standpoint, yet intrinsically challenging given that effort expenditure is generally aversive. Here we show that in laboratory rats, a basic physical exercise regimen (20 min/day, five days/week) is sufficient to increase industriousness across a battery of subsequent testing tasks. Exercised rats outperformed their non-exercised counterparts in tasks designed to tax effort expenditure, strategic decision-making, problem solving and persistence. These increases in performance led to quicker reward obtainment and greater reward gain over time, and could not be accounted for simply by increased locomotor activity. Our results suggest that a basic exercise regimen can enhance effortful goal-directed behaviour in goal-directed tasks, which highlights a potential productivity benefit of staying physically active.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Operant Box Task.A) When given 15 min in the novel, levered scenario, both groups made multiple entries into the food chute, suggesting knowledge of reward location. B) Stage progression for the Exercise group; each rat is indicated as a dot for each session. C) Stage progression for the Control group; each rat is indicated as a square for each session. D) Across sessions, the Exercise group procured significantly more reward as compared to Control group. E) When comparing only rats who reached the exploitation stage for three consecutive sessions (n = 6 Exercise, n = 3 Control), the Exercise exploiters achieved more lever presses, and therefore more reward, per session. Data are shown as mean ± SEM; for each group in panels A-D, n = 8.
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pone.0129831.g005: Operant Box Task.A) When given 15 min in the novel, levered scenario, both groups made multiple entries into the food chute, suggesting knowledge of reward location. B) Stage progression for the Exercise group; each rat is indicated as a dot for each session. C) Stage progression for the Control group; each rat is indicated as a square for each session. D) Across sessions, the Exercise group procured significantly more reward as compared to Control group. E) When comparing only rats who reached the exploitation stage for three consecutive sessions (n = 6 Exercise, n = 3 Control), the Exercise exploiters achieved more lever presses, and therefore more reward, per session. Data are shown as mean ± SEM; for each group in panels A-D, n = 8.

Mentions: During the testing sessions, food was only made available after a lever press. For maximal reward gain, rats needed to master three stages: rats needed to discover the association between lever pressing and reward; establish the association; and then exploit the action (see Methods for each stage’s criterion). All rats made numerous entries into the food chute in each testing session, suggesting remembrance of reward location and motivation to eat (Fig 5A; Group F(1,14) = 2.76, p = 0.12; Time F(6,84) = 2.5, p = 0.03; Group x Time F(6,84) = 3.6, p = 0.003). Over the course of seven sessions (one session/day), 11 of the 16 rats successfully discovered, established and exploited the relationship between lever pressing and food delivery. Seven of the eight Exercise rats, and three of the eight Control rats, reached the exploitation stage (Fig 5B and 5C). This was not a significant proportional difference between groups in mastery (p = 0.12, Fisher’s Exact Test), however the Exercise group achieved more reward across sessions (Fig 5D; Group F(1,14) = 7.6, p = 0.02; Time F(6,84) = 23.6, p<0.001; Group x Time F(6,84) = 6.08, p<0.001).


Regular Exercise Enhances Task-Based Industriousness in Laboratory Rats.

Laurence NC, Labuschagne LG, Lura BG, Hillman KL - PLoS ONE (2015)

Operant Box Task.A) When given 15 min in the novel, levered scenario, both groups made multiple entries into the food chute, suggesting knowledge of reward location. B) Stage progression for the Exercise group; each rat is indicated as a dot for each session. C) Stage progression for the Control group; each rat is indicated as a square for each session. D) Across sessions, the Exercise group procured significantly more reward as compared to Control group. E) When comparing only rats who reached the exploitation stage for three consecutive sessions (n = 6 Exercise, n = 3 Control), the Exercise exploiters achieved more lever presses, and therefore more reward, per session. Data are shown as mean ± SEM; for each group in panels A-D, n = 8.
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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4470589&req=5

pone.0129831.g005: Operant Box Task.A) When given 15 min in the novel, levered scenario, both groups made multiple entries into the food chute, suggesting knowledge of reward location. B) Stage progression for the Exercise group; each rat is indicated as a dot for each session. C) Stage progression for the Control group; each rat is indicated as a square for each session. D) Across sessions, the Exercise group procured significantly more reward as compared to Control group. E) When comparing only rats who reached the exploitation stage for three consecutive sessions (n = 6 Exercise, n = 3 Control), the Exercise exploiters achieved more lever presses, and therefore more reward, per session. Data are shown as mean ± SEM; for each group in panels A-D, n = 8.
Mentions: During the testing sessions, food was only made available after a lever press. For maximal reward gain, rats needed to master three stages: rats needed to discover the association between lever pressing and reward; establish the association; and then exploit the action (see Methods for each stage’s criterion). All rats made numerous entries into the food chute in each testing session, suggesting remembrance of reward location and motivation to eat (Fig 5A; Group F(1,14) = 2.76, p = 0.12; Time F(6,84) = 2.5, p = 0.03; Group x Time F(6,84) = 3.6, p = 0.003). Over the course of seven sessions (one session/day), 11 of the 16 rats successfully discovered, established and exploited the relationship between lever pressing and food delivery. Seven of the eight Exercise rats, and three of the eight Control rats, reached the exploitation stage (Fig 5B and 5C). This was not a significant proportional difference between groups in mastery (p = 0.12, Fisher’s Exact Test), however the Exercise group achieved more reward across sessions (Fig 5D; Group F(1,14) = 7.6, p = 0.02; Time F(6,84) = 23.6, p<0.001; Group x Time F(6,84) = 6.08, p<0.001).

Bottom Line: Individuals vary greatly in their willingness to select and persist in effortful tasks, even when high-effort will knowingly result in high-reward.These increases in performance led to quicker reward obtainment and greater reward gain over time, and could not be accounted for simply by increased locomotor activity.Our results suggest that a basic exercise regimen can enhance effortful goal-directed behaviour in goal-directed tasks, which highlights a potential productivity benefit of staying physically active.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

ABSTRACT
Individuals vary greatly in their willingness to select and persist in effortful tasks, even when high-effort will knowingly result in high-reward. Individuals who select and successively complete effortful, goal-directed tasks can be described as industrious. Trying to increase one's industriousness is desirable from a productivity standpoint, yet intrinsically challenging given that effort expenditure is generally aversive. Here we show that in laboratory rats, a basic physical exercise regimen (20 min/day, five days/week) is sufficient to increase industriousness across a battery of subsequent testing tasks. Exercised rats outperformed their non-exercised counterparts in tasks designed to tax effort expenditure, strategic decision-making, problem solving and persistence. These increases in performance led to quicker reward obtainment and greater reward gain over time, and could not be accounted for simply by increased locomotor activity. Our results suggest that a basic exercise regimen can enhance effortful goal-directed behaviour in goal-directed tasks, which highlights a potential productivity benefit of staying physically active.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus