- The neuroscience of impulsive and self-controlled decisions.
- International Journal of Psychophysiology
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Impulsiveness and self-control are two antagonistic choice patterns. Whereas impulsive decisions can be exemplified by the preference for a small, immediate over a large, delayed reward, self-control can be characterised as the opposite preference order. This review focuses on current developments in investigating the neuroscience of impulsiveness and self-control, with particular emphasis on the neuroanatomy, psychopharmacology, and electrophysiology of this class of decision making. The role of the avian forebrain in representing and processing temporal reward discounting - a chief psychological mechanism responsible for producing impulsiveness - is especially highlighted. In addition to its role in impulsive decision making, the avian forebrain also appears to be involved in processing the key functions required for action- and self-control. In particular, recent electrophysiological studies indicate that single forebrain neurons reflect aspects of response omission strategy and the temporal scheduling of response withholding when execution of action needs to be controlled. In conclusion, the significant advances in this field of research may help to explain neuropathologies that are characterised by exaggerated impulsivity, or lack of self-control, as for instance attention deficit disorders, frontal lobe syndrome, drug addiction, or pathological gambling.
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