The role of the vestibular system in value attribution to positive and negative reinforcers
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Description: Somatic inputs originating from bioregulatory processes can guide cognition and behavior. One such bodily signal, yet overlooked so far, is represented by visuo-vestibular coupling and its alteration, which in extreme cases may result in motion sickness. We argue that the inherently perturbed interoceptive state that follows can be a powerful determinant of human motivated behavior, resulting in a blunted response to appetitive stimuli and an exaggerated response to noxious ones. We therefore propose to induce visuo-vestibular mismatches to healthy subjects by means of galvanic vestibular stimulation, and test the consequences on the processing of rewards and punishments when the task involves conflict monitoring. We argue that results may shed light on embodied aspects of human decision-making. Moreover, results would provide hints about clinical populations, i.e. with addiction disorders, in which the link between interoception and sensitivity to rewards is compromised, and inhibition of distracting value information appears deficitary.