Evidence for a common mechanism supporting invigoration of action selection and action execution

Kahori Kita, Yue Du, Adrian M. Haith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The speed, or vigor, of our movements can vary depending on circumstances. For instance, the promise of a reward leads to faster movements. Reward also leads us to move with a lower reaction time, suggesting that the process of action selection can also be invigorated by reward. It has been proposed that invigoration of action selection and of action execution might occur through a common mechanism, and thus these aspects of behavior might be coupled. To test this hypothesis, we asked participants to make reaching movements to “shoot” through a target at varying speeds to assess whether moving more quickly was also associated with more rapid action selection. We found that, when participants were required to move with a lower velocity, the speed of their action selection was also significantly slowed. This finding was recapitulated in a further dataset in which participants determined their own movement speed, but had to move slowly to stop their movement inside the target. By reanalyzing a previous dataset, we also found evidence for the converse relationship between action execution and action selection; when pressured to select actions more rapidly, people also executed movements with higher velocity. Our results establish that invigoration of action selection and action execution vary in tandem with one another, supporting the hypothesis of a common underlying mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-246
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • action execution
  • action selection
  • reaching
  • speed-accuracy trade-off
  • vigor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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