Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 236, Issue 6, pp 1735–1747 | Cite as

The neural effects of positively and negatively re-experiencing mental fatigue sensation: a magnetoencephalography study

  • Akira Ishii
  • Takuya Ishizuka
  • Yuki Muta
  • Masaaki Tanaka
  • Emi Yamano
  • Yasuyoshi Watanabe
Research Article


Fatigue sensation is an essential biological alarm that urges us to take rest to avoid disrupting homeostasis and thus plays an important role in maintaining well-being. However, there are situations in which the anticipation of unpleasant fatigue sensation undesirably reduces motivation for activity. The aim of this study was to examine whether thinking positively about the fatigue sensation would increase motivation to accomplish the workload. Fourteen healthy male volunteers participated in this study and performed a two-back test for 30 min to induce mental fatigue sensation. After their subjective level of fatigue had recovered to the baseline level, they re-experienced the fatigue sensation experienced in the two-back test positively, negatively, and without any modification (i.e., re-experienced the fatigue sensation as it was). The level of motivation to perform another two-back test they felt during the re-experiencing was assessed. The neural activity related to the re-experiencing was recorded using magnetoencephalography. The level of the motivation to perform another two-back test was increased by positively re-experiencing the fatigue sensation. The increase in delta band power in Brodmann area 7 was positively associated with the increase in motivation. These results show that positive thinking about fatigue sensation can enhance motivation and suggest that this enhanced motivation may have some effects on visual attention system.


Fatigue Fatigue sensation Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Positive emotion 



We thank Forte Science Communications for editorial help with the manuscript and Manryoukai Imaging Clinic for MRI scans. This work was supported by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) KAKENHI Grant numbers 25750351 and 16H03248.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akira Ishii
    • 1
    • 2
  • Takuya Ishizuka
    • 2
  • Yuki Muta
    • 2
  • Masaaki Tanaka
    • 2
  • Emi Yamano
    • 3
  • Yasuyoshi Watanabe
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Sports medicineOsaka City University Graduate School of MedicineOsakaJapan
  2. 2.Department of PhysiologyOsaka City University Graduate School of MedicineOsakaJapan
  3. 3.Health Metrics Development TeamRIKEN Compass to Healthy Life Research Complex ProgramKobeJapan
  4. 4.RIKEN, Center for Life Science TechnologiesKobeJapan

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