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Reward systems are one of the most actively studied topics in (cognitive) neuroscience and prediction error - that is, deviations from expected "future" reward - play a big role in that. Since you're particularly interested in models, I recommend checking out the work of Matt Botvinick and Nathaniel Daw. Here are a few papers that might be good starting ...


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Hamid et al. Mesolimbic dopamine signals the value of work. Nature Neuroscience 2016. http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v19/n1/full/nn.4173.html Here is a paper that argues that dopamine signals discounted value of future returns. This is precisely what you are asking. the authors argue, that if rewards are further away in time or space, they are ...


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I think the key distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is not the awareness of the motive, but the locus of origin of the motive. We are very much aware of intrinsic motives. For example: Hunger- Going without food for a long time makes us hungry, a state we are aware of, and we consume food. The act of consuming food when hungry is ...


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Duckworth's [research on] grit would probably qualify; she defined grit as perseverance/persistance combined with passion... However as grit is currently measured, grit doesn't seem all that different from conscientiousness, which is a much more established measure. Duckworth herself admits we should probably go back to drawing board for measuring passion; ...


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