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Author Notes:

Harriet de Wit, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC3077, Chicago, IL 60637. E-mail: hdew@uchicago.edu.

M.C.W., M.T.T., D.H.Z., and H.d.W. designed research; M.C.W. performed research; M.C.W., M.T.T., and L.M.M. analyzed data; M.C.W., M.T.T., L.M.M., D.H.Z., and H.d.W. wrote the paper.

We thank Cassandra Esposito and Celina Joos for their work on this study.

The authors declare no competing financial interests.


Research Funding:

The National Institute on Drug Abuse supported this work through Grant R01 DA02812 to H.d.W.

M.C.W. and L.M.M. are supported by a National Institute on Drug Abuse Training Grant, T32 DA007255.

The contribution of D.H.Z. and M.T.T. to this work was supported by Grants R21 MH092751-01 and F31 MH1087015-02 from the National Institute of Mental Health.


  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Decision Making
  • Dextroamphetamine
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Probability
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Reward
  • Young Adult

Amping up effort: Effects of d-amphetamine on human effort-based decision-making


Journal Title:

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing


Volume 31, Number 46


, Pages 16597-16602

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Animal studies suggest the neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) plays an important role in decision-making. In rats,DAdepletion decreases tolerance for effort and probability costs, while drugs enhancingDAincrease tolerance for these costs. However, data regarding the effect of DA manipulations on effort and probability costs in humans remain scarce. The current study examined acute effects of d-amphetamine, an indirectDAagonist, on willingness of healthyhumanvolunteers to exert effort for monetary rewards at varying levels of reward value and reward probability. Based on preclinical research, we predicted amphetamine would increase exertion of effort, particularly when reward probability was low. Over three sessions, 17 healthy normal adults received placebo, d-amphetamine 10 mg, and 20 mg under counterbalanced double-blind conditions and completed the Effort Expenditure for Rewards Task. Consistent with predictions, amphetamine enhanced willingness to exert effort, particularly when reward probability was lower. Amphetamine did not alter effects of reward magnitude on willingness to exert effort. Amphetamine sped task performance, but its psychomotor effects were not strongly related to its effects on decision-making. This is the first demonstration in humans that dopaminergic manipulations alter willingness to exert effort for rewards. These findings help elucidate neurochemical substrates of choice, with implications for neuropsychiatric diseases characterized by dopaminergic dysfunction and motivational deficits.

Copyright information:

© 2011 the Authors.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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