The fatigue is the lack of energy, exhaustion or fatigue and suffer almost daily. It can appear as a normal and important response to physical exertion, emotional stress, boredom, or lack of sleep. And sometimes it makes us lose motivation .
Although scientists understand the mechanisms that the brain uses to decide whether a particular task is worth the effort, the influence of fatigue on this process is not well understood . Up to now.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham and the University of Oxford have shown that the will to work is not static and depends on fluctuating rates of fatigue . In other words, our motivation to face new challenges depends largely on it.
Effort and work
The authors of the study, published in Nature Communications, studied the impact of fatigue on a person's decision to exert themselves. The results: They found that people were less likely to work and strain, even for a reward, if they were fatigued.
The researchers differentiated between two different types of fatigue that were detected, in different parts of the brain. In the former, fatigue is experienced as a short-lived sensation, which can be overcome after a short rest.
However, if it is not remedied, it gets worse over time . A second, longer-term feeling builds up, preventing people from wanting to work and doesn't go away with short breaks.
"We found that people's willingness to push themselves fluctuated from moment to moment, but gradually decreased as they repeated a task over time," says Tanja Müller, first author of the study.
The team measured it in 36 young, healthy people, based on a mathematical model to predict how much fatigue a person would feel at any point in the experiment and how much that fatigue influenced their decisions to work or rest.
Participants completed more than 200 trials, and in each one they were asked whether they would rather "work", which involved squeezing a grip force device, and getting the highest rewards offered, or resting and earning only a small reward.
In addition to the task, the participants also underwent an MRI scan, which allowed the researchers to look for activity in the brain that matched the model's predictions.
This work provides new ways to study and understand fatigue , its effects on the brain and why it can change the motivation of some people more than others.
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