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The Effects of Reward Anticipation on Cognitive Control and Memory Encoding Processes: A Meta-Analysis

Reward anticipation has been shown to influence cognitive control and memory encoding, but a wide variety of cognitive task designs have been used to investigate this relationship without being systematically accounted for when examining variability in reward effects on performance. To investigate effects of reward anticipation across both cognitive control and memory domains, and the influence of varying task paradigms and design elements within these domains, we are conducting a meta-analysis. Specifically, studies were extracted from the databases of Pubmed, Psycinfo and Web of Science. The search resulted in 124,905 studies. After removing duplicate studies and screening the titles, abstracts, and full texts against specific criteria (i.e., participant age), 161 studies remain. Of the remaining studies, 98 examine the effect of reward anticipation on cognitive control while the other 63 studies examine the effect of reward anticipation on memory encoding. The effect of the interaction between reward (high vs. low reward or high vs. no reward) with cognitive control or memory performance is currently being extracted from each study, along with specific design element data (i.e., time between reward cue and target presentation). The data will be inputted into the meta-analysis software “R” to determine the significance of the reward with cognitive control and the reward with memory performance interactions. We will then investigate how different task design elements may act as potential moderators affecting the strength of the relationship between reward and task performance. This research is the first of its kind using a meta-analysis approach to systematically quantify reward anticipation effects on cognition across both cognitive control and memory domains.