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Séminaire - Alex ZenonThe neurobiology of mental effort and mental fatigue

Abstract :

 Mental effort is a widely used concept but it is poorly defined and  understood. Fifty years ago, a strong link between pupil size variations  and mental effort was established, leading to the view, still currently  held, that pupil size tracks changes in mental effort. Here I will  discuss some of the theoretical bases of mental effort and will show  recent results that question strongly its link to pupil size. Mental fatigue is the consequence of prolonged mental effort or can be a  chronic state in some disease conditions. I will discuss recent findings  from our lab suggesting that the degeneration of Locus Coeruleus in  Parkinson Disease patients may be causally related to the intense  fatigue experienced by these patients. I will also present a new  neuroimaging study that attempted to address whether mental fatigue can  be viewed as a disruption of motivational processes.

Selected publications

Zénon, A., Duclos, Y., Carron, R., Witjas, T., Baunez, C., Regis, J., Azulay, J.-P., Brown, P., & Eusebio, A. (In Press) The Human Subthalamic Nucleus encodes the subjective value of reward and the cost of effort during decision-making. Brain 

 Zénon, A., Klein, P.-A., Alamia, A., Boursoit, F., Wilhelm, E., & Duque, J. (2015a). Increased Reliance on Value-based Decision Processes Following Motor Cortex Disruption. Brain Stimulation. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.brs.2015.05.007 

 Zénon, A., Sidibé, M., & Olivier, E. (2015b). Disrupting the Supplementary Motor Area Makes Physical Effort Appear Less Effortful. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(23), 8737–8744. http://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3789-14.2015 

 Gergelyfi, M., Jacob, B., Olivier, E., & Zénon, A. (2015). Dissociation between mental fatigue and motivational state during prolonged mental activity. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 9, 176. http://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00176 

 Zénon, A., & Krauzlis, R. J. (2012). Attention deficits without cortical neuronal deficits. Nature, 489(7416), 434–437. http://doi.org/10.1038/nature11497 

Scientific focus :

Alex Zenon recruté à l'INCIA en 2016

poste précédent :
Research Associate
Institute of Neuroscience 
Université catholique Louvain
Bruxelles, Belgium