The (neuro)science of getting and staying motivated (EPFL)
The analysis revealed that the key to performance – and, by extension, motivation – lies within the ratio of two neurotransmitters in the nucleus accumbens: glutamine and glutamate. Specifically, the ratio of glutamine to glutamate relates to our capacity for maintaining performance over a long period of time – what the researchers term “stamina”. Another discovery was that competition seems to boost performance even from the beginning of the task. This was especially the case for individuals with low glutamine-to-glutamate ratios in the nucleus accumbens.