Motivation is the driving force that elicits a certain behaviour from an organism in order to satisfy the drive or seek a particular goal. Motivation can be induced by physiological drives such as hunger, thirst or pain, as well as by events in the external environment.

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News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Effort is costly. People devalue personal rewards that require some measure of physical or even mental effort. Laboratory studies now suggest that physical effort is especially costly when engaged to benefit others. Even when people are willing, however, their efforts are often superficial, with people doing what is necessary but no more.

    • Michael Inzlicht
    •  & Cendri A. Hutcherson
  • News and Views |

    McHenry and colleagues delineate a neural circuit controlling female sexual behavior. These experiments shed light on how the brain optimizes reproductive behavior to coincide with phases of peak fertility.

    • Gül Dölen
    Nature Neuroscience 20, 379–380
  • News and Views |

    While the relationship between motivation and sleep is intuitive, its behavioral and neural features are poorly understood. A new study tackles both issues, showing that dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area mediate this relationship.

    • Michael Happ
    •  & Michael M Halassa
    Nature Neuroscience 19, 1274–1276
  • News and Views |

    Researchers show that orbitofrontal neurons perform the same value-related computations across different decisions. Value computations are therefore a critical feature around which orbitofrontal representations are organized.

    • Erin L Rich
    •  & Jonathan D Wallis
    Nature Neuroscience 19, 768–770
  • News and Views |

    In this issue of Nature Neuroscience, Eshel et al. characterize the homogeneity with which individual dopamine neurons encode reward prediction error, a teaching signal that is thought to be crucial for associative learning.

    • Nathan F Parker
    •  & Ilana B Witten
    Nature Neuroscience 19, 418–419