Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Motivated control as a bridge between neuroeconomics and cognitive neuroscience

Motivated control processes help us optimize our behaviour to deal with competing task demands: seeking rewards while minimizing the associated effort. A new study in Nature Human Behaviour argues that the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, a key contributor to motivated control, tracks a computational quantity akin to surprise that is generated when events differ from our expectations.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    Botvinick, M. & Braver, T. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 66, 83–113 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Ebitz, R. B. & Hayden, B. Y. Nat. Neurosci. 19, 1278–1279 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Vassena, E., Deraeve, J. & Alexander, W.H. Nat. Hum. Behav. (2020).

  4. 4.

    Mormann, M. M., Malmaud, J., Huth, A., Koch, C. & Rangel, A. Judgm. Decis. Mak. 5, 437–449 (2010).

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Shenhav, A., Botvinick, M. M. & Cohen, J. D. Neuron 79, 217–240 (2013).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Shenhav, A., Straccia, M. A., Cohen, J. D. & Botvinick, M. M. Nat. Neurosci. 17, 1249–1254 (2014).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Vassena, E., Deraeve, J. & Alexander, W. H. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 29, 1633–1645 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Cole, M. W. & Schneider, W. Neuroimage 37, 343–360 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Niendam, T. A. et al. Cogn. Affect. Behav. Neurosci. 12, 241–268 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Levallois, C., Clithero, J. A., Wouters, P., Smidts, A. & Huettel, S. A. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 13, 789–797 (2012).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Scott A. Huettel.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Bachman, M.D., Huettel, S.A. Motivated control as a bridge between neuroeconomics and cognitive neuroscience. Nat Hum Behav 4, 332–333 (2020).

Download citation


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing