Acta Psychopathologica Open Access

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Short Communication - (2024) Volume 10, Issue 3

Unraveling the Connection Between Working Memory and Intrinsic Motivation: Insights from an EEG Study
Pennesi Soliman*
Department of Counselling Psychology, University of São Paulo, Brazil
*Correspondence: Pennesi Soliman, Department of Counselling Psychology, University of São Paulo, Brazil, Email:

Received: 28-Feb-2024, Manuscript No. IPAP-24-20173; Editor assigned: 01-Mar-2024, Pre QC No. IPAP-24-20173 (PQ); Reviewed: 15-Mar-2021, QC No. IPAP-24-20173; Revised: 20-Mar-2024, Manuscript No. IPAP-24-20173 (R); Published: 27-Mar-2024, DOI: 10.36648/2469-6676-10.03.21


The intricate relationship between working memory processes and intrinsic motivation is a burgeoning area of research in cognitive neuroscience. This dynamic interplay is critical for understanding how individuals engage with tasks, sustain attention, and achieve goals. Recent advancements in electroencephalography (EEG) have provided new avenues to explore these cognitive phenomena, offering a window into the real-time neural mechanisms underlying working memory and motivation.


Working memory, the cognitive system responsible for temporarily holding and manipulating information, is fundamental to a wide range of cognitive tasks. It enables individuals to perform complex activities such as problemsolving, decision-making, and language comprehension. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, refers to the drive to engage in activities for their inherent satisfaction and interest rather than external rewards. The synergy between these two processes can significantly impact an individual’s cognitive performance and learning outcomes. EEG, a non-invasive technique that measures electrical activity in the brain, is particularly well-suited for studying the temporal dynamics of cognitive processes. By analyzing EEG data, researchers can identify specific neural patterns associated with working memory and intrinsic motivation. One of the key neural signatures of working memory is the theta band oscillation primarily observed in the frontal cortex. These oscillations are believed to play a crucial role in the maintenance and manipulation of information in working memory. In a recent EEG study, researchers investigated how intrinsic motivation influences working memory processes by examining theta band activity. Participants were asked to perform a series of working memory tasks while their neural activity was recorded. To manipulate intrinsic motivation, tasks were designed to vary in levels of interest and engagement. Some tasks were inherently enjoyable and challenging, aimed at fostering intrinsic motivation, while others were monotonous and repetitive. The results revealed a fascinating interaction between intrinsic motivation and working memory. When participants engaged in tasks that were intrinsically motivating, their theta band activity was significantly enhanced compared to less motivating tasks. This heightened neural activity was correlated with better performance on the working memory tasks, suggesting that intrinsic motivation can amplify the cognitive processes underlying working memory. Moreover, the study found that individual differences in intrinsic motivation were reflected in distinct neural patterns. Participants who reported higher levels of intrinsic motivation exhibited stronger and more sustained theta band oscillations during the tasks. This finding highlights the potential for EEG to serve as a biomarker for intrinsic motivation, providing a measurable indicator of how motivation influences cognitive processing at the neural level. These insights have profound implications for educational practices and cognitive training programs. Understanding the neural mechanisms that link intrinsic motivation with working memory can inform the design of more effective learning environments. For instance, incorporating elements that enhance intrinsic motivation, such as gamified learning experiences or personalized challenges, could strengthen working memory processes and improve learning outcomes. Furthermore, the study underscores the importance of considering individual differences in motivational states when assessing cognitive performance. Traditional approaches to cognitive training often adopt a one-size-fits-all strategy, which may not be effective for all individuals. By tailoring interventions to align with an individual’s intrinsic motivation, it may be possible to optimize cognitive training and enhance overall performance [1-4].


In conclusion, the EEG study sheds light on the complex interplay between working memory processes and intrinsic motivation. The findings underscore the potential of EEG as a powerful tool for exploring the neural basis of motivation and cognition. As research in this area continues to evolve, it promises to deepen our understanding of how intrinsic motivation can be harnessed to enhance cognitive function, with far-reaching implications for education, cognitive training, and beyond.



Conflict Of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


Citation: Soliman P (2024) Unravelling the Connection between Working Memory and Intrinsic Motivation: Insights from an EEG Study. Act Psycho. 10:21.

Copyright: © 2024 Soliman P. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and SOURCE are credited.